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Yield 2 cups
Zucchini gives great creamy body to this nutty, lower oil, arugula pesto. Seasoned with ground Pierre Poivre, the light and refreshing pesto gains great depth and floral notes in each symphonic bite. To freshly grind the Pierre Poivre, you can use a spice grinder, a mortar and pestle, or what I do is keep a grinder full of it so I can add a finishing touch of Pierre Poivre to anything and everything.
Prepare a medium-sized pan of boiling salted water and an ice bath to blanch and shock the arugula.
When ready, submerge all of the arugula in the boiling water, stirring to make sure all of the arugula has been boiled for a full second. Remove the arugula to the ice bath and stir while in the ice water to shock the arugula quickly. Remove the cold arugula, drain, and squeeze out excess water.
Roughly chop the arugula and set aside..
When the water has come back up to boil, add the zucchini and cook for 1 minute.
Strain out the zucchini and let the pieces cool in a single layer on a tray or plate until cooled to room temperature.
Place the arugula, cooled zucchini, garlic, salt, Pierre Poivre, and olive oil into a blender and blend until smooth.
Remove the pesto to a bowl and stir in the grated parmesan and lemon zest, adjusting with more salt and Pierre if needed.
Transfer the pesto to a clean container and store chilled.
If you don’t have fresh zucchini, frozen zucchini can be easily substituted.
When blending the pesto, the puree should be smooth but not warmed from working in the blender. You can chill the pesto in a bowl set in a bowl of ice water to chill the pesto quickly if needed.
Grinding Pierre Poivre to a finer size can bring out the floral notes and mellow it’s spicy bite. You can read more about the wonders of Pierre Poivre, here.
The recipe works very well with basil in place of arugula. Follow the same steps for a bright green result.
Pesto is always handy to have to spread on crusty bread or toss through hot or cold pasta.