I love making traditional basil pesto – by the end of summer, my vegetable garden is bursting with huge, bushy basil plants (that started life in the spring as a Trader Joe’s $2.99 live basil plant).

Homemade Arugula Pesto Pasta recipe Cooking Trader Joe's

I went with my usual recipe of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and pecorino cheese.  I shredded some of  TJ’s Toscano Cheese with Black Pepper (this pecorino is a real gem of a cheese at TJ’s – definitely make a note to buy some for your next crackers & cheese spread).

If you’re not crazy about pine nuts or their price (or you are sensitive to the “pine nut bitter aftertaste syndrome” known as Pine Mouth), go with walnuts – they work perfectly here.

I process all the ingredients, minus the olive oil, in the food processor. I whisk in the olive oil by hand since I’ve found that processing extra virgin olive oil in the food processor sometimes makes it bitter.

The final result is a yummy pesto with lively, fresh flavor. Serve the pesto with your favorite spaghetti, linguine, or fettucine.  Stir it in, coating the noodles, and top with extra cheese if desired.  Leftover pesto sauce can be kept in the fridge for a few days in a bag with the air pressed out.


  • 1 (7-oz) bag arugula (or traditional basil)
  • 2 cubes frozen Crushed Garlic, or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup grated/shredded Toscano cheese or Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Add arugula, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, and salt to a food processor. Process until smooth. Scrape sides if necessary. Transfer to bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil into mixture and whisk smooth. Keep adding olive oil until desired consistency is reached.