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Fresh rocket pesto recipe - an easy sauce for pasta

Updated on June 10, 2013
Pasta served with rocket pesto, grated cheese and toasted pine nuts
Pasta served with rocket pesto, grated cheese and toasted pine nuts | Source

Freshly made rocket pesto sauce just can't be beaten for flavour and freshness, and it is so quick and easy to prepare. Rocket gives the sauce a lovely zingy peppery flavour, compared to the more common basil pesto. It is a wonderful sauce simply to swirl into your favourite pasta, or can be used to season pizzas, pies and vegetable dishes.

Rocket (or arugula, as it is also known) is a very fast growing salad crop, which shoots up in the spring and early summer, grows really fast and then goes to seed within a few weeks, so this recipe is a great way to use it all up while it is fresh, and it is a wonderful seasonal recipe.

5 stars from 1 rating of Rocket pesto

Cook Time

Cook time: 5 min
Ready in: 5 min
Yields: Enough for at least six servings of pasta


  • A large handful (about 2 oz or 50 g) fresh rocket or arugula leaves
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper
Ingredients | Source
Put all of the ingredients into a blender
Put all of the ingredients into a blender | Source


  1. Wash and drain the rocket leaves. Freshly picked leaves are best if you are lucky enough to have some in your garden. Peel and crush the garlic.
  2. Put the pine nuts, crushed garlic, rocket leaves and olive oil into a blender and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
  3. Whizz everything up in the blender for about a minute until you have a smooth paste, Don't overdo it, and don't worry about a few large pieces of pine nut left in the paste, they will add to the texture. And that's it - your pesto sauce is ready! All that remains to be done is to cook up some of your favourite pasta to serve it with.
Freshly made rocket pesto
Freshly made rocket pesto | Source


A little pesto goes a long way, as it has quite a concentrated flavour, so this quantity should be enough to stir into around six servings of pasta. It can also be used to flavour other dishes.

My favourite method of serving is to stir the sauce into warm, just-cooked pasta, sprinkle with a few toasted pine nuts and grate some hard cheese, such as parmesan, pecorino or cheddar cheese on top. Lovely!

If you have any left over it will keep for up to a week in the fridge.


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    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 3 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Dear Imogen, this sounds lovely! I had forgotten that arugula is also referred to as 'rocket'. I tend to have quite a lot of it, all at once going to seed as you point out. This is another way to enjoy it besides in salads and juices (it puts the zing into fresh V8-like juice).

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 3 years ago from Southwest England

      You are so right blueheron. I haven't sown any for about 3 yrs now, but it is still coming up everywhere! I always seem to have plenty.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      Arugula is very easy to grow--and it will live through winters that go below zero. It also re-seeds prolifically. You might be able to grow it in the cracks in your driveway, if you a short of garden space. The main problem with growing it is that you can wind up with a lot more than you planned.

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 4 years ago from Southwest England

      Hope you all enjoy giving this recipe a try - it really is simple, and very tasty :)

    • uNicQue profile image

      Nicole Quaste 4 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      I absolutely love pesto, but I normally just buy the convenient little packets of powder. I thought it was much more difficult to make fresh! I will certainly try this, thank you!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Your recipe looks quite delicious. I will definitely be trying it. I can't wait. Up, useful, and interesting.

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 4 years ago from South of France

      I've got so much rocket growing in my garden I really must try this - thanks!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 4 years ago from United States

      Yum! I love this idea. Pesto is one of my favorite meals. I'm thinking using argula and basil together would be good.

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 4 years ago from Southwest England

      Hi Susan, I hope you enjoy making it - I was amazed how quick and easy it was the first time I tried it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I really enjoy arugula but have only ever prepared it as a salad. I look forward to trying your recipe as it sounds really good.