Tuesday, April 5, 2011

First Arugula!

I love this pungent leafy green!  It's peppery and crunchy and adds a wonderful element of flavor to most anything...salads, pasta dishes, soups.  Another reason I love it is because it's ready to pick about three weeks after sowing!  This green does best in cooler weather.  It's not suited to our hot Texas summers; but it does great in the spring and fall. 

So I'm thinking, what do I want to do with this first bunch?  Since having my vegetable garden, my method of deciding what to cook goes like this:  It's not what do I want, it's what do I have?  Using that mantra in deciding what to do with the arugula, I looked in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer and this is what I had:

A beautiful bunch of freshly picked arugula 

A pound of peeled, deveined shrimp

1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes

1/2 box of penne pasta

2 lemons from my tree which I zested and juiced

A couple of spring green onions from my garden...yay!

And basic pantry staples...fresh parsley, half and half, garlic and good extra virgin olive oil.

This is what I did with these simple ingredients:

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, drain and reserve a cup of the pasta cooking liquid.  Toss the pasta with a little extra virgin olive oil and set aside.

Marinate the shrimp in a little extra virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup), the lemon zest and juice, two cloves of minced garlic, a little kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for no longer than 30 minutes.

Saute the green onion in a little extra virgin olive oil until soft, a couple of minutes.

Add the shrimp and saute just until pink, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the tomatoes and saute a couple of minutes.

Add about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, a little half and half (about 1/4 cup), and simmer for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. 

 Add the shrimp and parsley and stir to combine. 

Add the cleaned, stemmed arugula and simmer until arugula is soft and shrimp has finished cooking, about 3-5 minutes...not very long.

Taste for seasoning, plate and serve!  This whole dish came together (excluding marinating time) in less than 30 minutes and I have to tell you...It.Was.Delicious! 

I simply love cooking this way...not what do I want, but what do I have...out of my little Texas garden!

Buon Appetito :)


  1. OH MY GOODNESS! This looks wonderful! I have some arugula too but to be honest I didn't know what to do with it! I am so excited to try this recipe! Yummy!

  2. Hi Kelsey...it's reeeally good and reeeealy easy! And it lends itself to variations based on what you have in your pantry. Let me know if you try it! I use arugula in many dishes. It wouldn't be spring without arugula in my garden! Thank you for stopping by!

  3. Diane This looks yummy and thanks for sharing the photos. They look wonderful. I have some Arugula growing now in my garden. I think I'll have to try this recipe.

  4. Hi Jackie :) So good to hear from you...Your blog was one of the first I began following a couple of years ago :) Your photos are incredible. This recipe is soooo easy and it is really good. I'd love to hear if you try it. Thank you for visiting me :)

  5. Yum! I want to eat supper at your house. I remember Arugula in a lot of dishes during our trip to Italy a couple of years ago. Very tasty! Your photos have me salivating even at this late hour!

  6. That way of cooking is definitely best. The best veg is undoubtedly "what is in season near you right now". At to me that means in my own garden. None of this thousands of Food Miles nonsense!

  7. Hi Beth...there's *always* room at the dinner table at my house :) Yes, the Italians use a lot of arugula. We did, too, when I had my cafe as our food leaned heavily towards the simple, country Italian dishes. I've got more arugula in the garden so more recipes to come!

    You're right, Mark. It is best. That's the way I've been cooking for a number of years now and I really enjoy it. Local, as in in your back yard, is always best. Good to hear from you :)

  8. That looks so yummy. The arugula makes it pretty too. The 30 minute meals right from the garden are sure 'a good thing'. My kind of cooking.

  9. We moved away from Texas and miss it very much, esp. rural Texas.
    And tonight we are having shrimp. Your pics make it difficult for me to wait for everyone to get home before cooking.

    I don't see any other way to contact you so I understand you will delete this. My latest book is a novel about a S Texas beekeeper (and cook) who takes on a troubled young man from the Chicago for the summer. The book has much to say about the fauna and flora and respect for nature. You can read about BUZZ on my writer's website www.freedomhistory.com Again, sorry to post here. I just did not see how else to communicate. Steve

  10. Thanks, Donna! I *love* eating like this out of the garden. That's why I love the summer...because I can eat this way nearly every single night :)

  11. This looks fabulous. What a great date dinner to make one night, thanks for sharing.