The seed packet for arugula states that you should be able to harvest in 40-45 days. My first pickings were at 35 days! If you are a fan of arugula, toss some seeds in a pot (or the ground if you have the space) and grow your own! Homegrown arugula is so much more peppery and spicy than whatever you buy at the store (some farmers markets’ stalls come close) but picked fresh from the earth cannot be beat!
To celebrate the first veggies from my garden since planting 5 weeks ago, I made Cacio e Pepe con Rucola, AKA pasta with pecorino romano cheese, cracked black pepper and arugula. Traditional Roman fare, cacio e pepe is fresh pasta (if you’ve got it) tossed with finely grated pecorino romano cheese and black pepper ground over all. It is divine! Gild the lily by tossing in some freshly washed arugula and allow the hot pasta to wilt the greens and you’ll be singing Puccini to the birds!
By the way, I learned through experience that the arugula loses its peppery bite the longer you wait to eat it after harvesting. So if you prefer the more mellow arugula taste, pick it the day before you plan to use it.
Another note for all the DIYers reading this, arugula grows so easily and in any climate – cold northern places like Minnesota in early spring or hot and temperate like southern California in May. It sprouts within 3-5 days of planting and needs to be thinned within a few weeks if it is bunched together (otherwise you won’t get decent sized leaves). I will keep you posted on how it does in the hot summer – it will probably get even more spicy in the heat!
I will be sending this over to Trish of Slap Happy Kitchen who is hosting Presto Pasta Nights this week. If you want to participate, send your entry to trish (at) slaphappykitchen (dot)com and cc ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com by Thursday, May 26th. Check back for the roundup May 27th.
Cacio e Pepe con Rucola
2 cups arugula, washed well
1 lb linguine or spaghetti
1 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
salt (depending on how salty the cheese is)
Cook pasta as directed. Drain leaving at least 2 tablespoons of cooking water. Pour into serving bowl and sprinkle in arugula and toss for 1 minute to allow greens to wilt. Add cheese and toss to coat. Grind black pepper over and toss to mix well. Serve.
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