Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wilted Arugula Orecchiette in a Lemon Mascarpone Sauce

I don't think I can ever tire of my go-to arugula salad with shaved parmesan in a shallot lemon olive oil vinaigrette (toasted pine nuts optional). And I certainly never thought I could improve on the salad in either taste or time required to assemble. I love the slight bitterness of baby arugula and it is an added bonus that arugula is a good source of folate and calcium and an excellent source of Vitamin A, C and K, as well as cooper and iron.

Then I had ricotta ravioli with wilted arugula in a lemon sauce at Zazie in Cole Valley. While dining on the charming garden patio underneath beautiful strings of lights, I made a mental note that I must create a wilted arugula pasta dish at home the next time I have a generous bunch of arugula in my CSA box.

Let's face it, while we love arugula salads, sometimes we just need other uses for the massive bag of greens sitting in the fridge (other than throwing it onto a pizza, which is a delicious way to convince yourself that eating pizza is healthy).

When arugula arrived in my next box, I immediately washed and spun-dry the arugula, wrapped the leaves in a paper towel and stored the bunch in a plastic bag. To keep the arugula as fresh as possible, it is important to store the leaves wrapped in a paper towel to absorb moisture.

We love orecchiette around here so I decided to create a lemon mascarpone sauce for the pasta and then add the arugula. Mascarpone is gently folded with the juice of one lemon, lemon zest, roasted garlic and crushed red pepper and then the cooked pasta and arugula is gently stirred in with some of the cooking water until the arugula wilts. And you are done!

The dish has the perfect amount of lemony-ness and the mascarpone makes the dish silky and creamy but still light. I was pretty happy with how quickly the dish came together- it only took about as long as it takes to boil the pasta.

I think I will stick to my favorite arugula salad most nights, but for a quick weeknight meal, wilted arugula pasta with lemon mascarpone sauce is a welcomed change.

Oreccheitte with wilted arugula in a lemon mascarpone sauce
1 bunch arugula, wild or baby, tough stems removed
zest of 2 small lemons
3 to 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about one lemon)
8 oz mascarpone (I love Crave brother's)
1/2 lb orecchiette (penne or farfalle would work fine too)
sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, or to taste
2 large garlic cloves, minced

Bring water to a boil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan over high heat. Once water is boiling, salt generously and then add pasta. Cook pasta until just before al dente, 1-2 minutes before cooking time listed on package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine mascarpone, lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with sea salt. In a small saucepan, heat olive oil until shimmery. Add garlic cloves and crushed red pepper, stirring until fragrant. Pour onto lemon mascarpone sauce, stirring to combine.  Add 1/4 cup reserved cooking water. Mix well to form a sauce.

Gently stir in cooked pasta and arugula until wilted. If using wild arugula, may need to add additional pasta water to help wilt the greens. Taste and adjust salt and lemon juice as needed.

Serve hot and can pass additional lemon wedges at table if you wish.


  1. I do remember this delicious treat and can attest to the amazing combination of arugula and mascarpone with the perfect lemon touch! MR(S) :)

  2. Omigoodness, the pasta and the salad sound heavenly! I can't wait to try! I love arugula and lemon, mmm.

  3. I have made the mistake of checking this out while starving. The appeal of this food is absolute torture.

    Can't wait to see your face SOON!!!!!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...