Eruca sativa, also called rocket, arugula, rugula, rucola or rucketta, is famous for its aphrodisiac property. The plant originates in the Mediterranean region and grows throughout the area from Lebanon to Morocco. Arugula can easily be cultivated even in a small pot. It is considered one of the most useful and healthiest of natural super foods. It is very low in calories (20 gm of arugula has only 5 cal) and a great source of dietary fibre, vitamins C, A, K and P, iron and potassium. Experts say that one of the most significant health benefits of arugula is that it helps improve the quality of blood.
Arugula is believed to stop cough. Vitamins P and K in this plant are reported to have positive effects on liver function. Arugula leaves and seeds are widely used in modern cuisine. It is especially good with fish and red meat. It can be combined with parsnip, pine nut and pistachio to make a dressing for vegetable salads and pasta. Also, it can substitute basil, to make a peppery and zingy pesto which can be used for pasta or simply as a spread on a toasted piece of French loaf.
Now, for a recipe.
Pasta with Gorgonzola and Arugula
Pasta (raw): 100 gm (preferably penne, fusilli, or even macaroni for that matter)
Butter: 15 gm
Gorgonzola cheese: 50 gm
Cream: 60 ml
Arugula: a handful
(approximately 40-50 gm)
Salt and crushed black pepper to taste
Method: Blanch the pasta in adequately salted boiling water to al dente; strain and toss in some olive oil. Set it aside and allow it to cool. Reserve the drained water for later use.
For the sauce, melt some butter and to it add the cheese and the cream. Stir till the sauce is homogenous and all the cheese is melted.
Throw the pasta and the arugula into the sauce and toss it well. Season appropriately (the reserved water can be used to thin down the sauce if required).
Serve hot garnished with crushed black pepper and a dash of extra virgin olive oil.
You could try this too
Bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta. Meanwhile, melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Add Gorgonzola and cream; cook stirring frequently until the cheese melts. Keep warm while the pasta cooks.
Tear arugula into bits, the pieces should not be too small. Cook the pasta until it is tender but not mushy. Remove and reserve a little cooking water, then drain the pasta and toss it with arugula and cheese mixture, adding a bit of water if the mixture seems dry.
Taste and season accordingly.
Jr. Sous Chef, The Park, Anna Salai