Instant Pesto

We’re all obsessed with instant things, these days– Instant Pots, Instagram — that the idea of doing anything NOT instant can be pretty unappealing. Which is why I’m here to tell you that pesto — which, for many, seems like a tedious, labor-intensive process — can be made instantly and deliciously if you have a food processor, a bag of arugula, and a few pantry staples.

In fact, I single-handedly guarantee that you — yes YOU — can have bright green, intensely flavorful pesto on the table in FIVE MINUTES. That’s right FIVE MINUTES.

Watch this. Take a handful of walnuts, and toast them in a tiny skillet until fragrant. (You could also use pine nuts or almonds. Doesn’t matter. Whatever you have.)

Meanwhile, cut a few chunks off a wedge of good Parmesan (you know it’s good because it’s a wedge and not pre-grated) and pop them into your food processor.

Blitz until it’s coarse…

Dump that out, put the walnuts in (let them cool a little first) and a few cloves of garlic, as many as you like (three fat ones is a good way to go, but four works if you like things very garlicky). Add a pinch of salt for good measure.

Blitz that, then add a BAG of arugula. You heard right: just buy arugula at the farmer’s market (that’s where I get mine, it’s extra peppery) or a box of organic arugula at the grocery store. The point is, unlike basil, you don’t have to do any stemming; you just put the whole bag in. Hence the INSTANT nature of this pesto. (I’d say it’s about three cups.)

Add another pinch of salt and blitz.

At this point, I add lemon juice (from about two lemons, but I like it zingy) then I put the lid on and slowly add olive oil through the feeding tube as the motor runs. About 3/4th a cup, but it could take a whole cup depending on how loose or thick you want your pesto. Ideally, you want it chunky.

And then you just add back your Parmesan and pulse a few times.

I wasn’t lying to you!

That’s seriously it: pesto in five minutes.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if your pesto doesn’t taste amazing here, fear not. Add more salt and lemon juice until it does. Seriously, I’ve had disappointing pesto moments that become amazing pesto moments just by adjusting with salt and lemon juice. So it’s important that you do that here.

There’s so much you can do with pesto in the summer. You can toss it with green beans (see here). You can do what I did the night that I made this and toss it with rigatoni, white beans (drained from a can), and a chopped tomato. (Not pictured: the tomato.)

Stir that all together and voila.

Or do what I did this morning, and put some pesto in with your eggs.

I just heated a little olive oil in a non-stick skillet, cracked in three eggs, scrambled with salt, and then stirred in a little pesto at the end.

Pesto will your best friend this summer. And now you know how to make it in an instant. Get cracking!

Let's dish!

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