Arugula is one of the many “new” greens making their way onto supermarket shelves in the United States, although in this case this marvelous herb has long been known and loved in Europe, especially Italy.
Yes, one of the surprising facts about arugula is that is classed as an herb. It is not just a variety of lettuce, as many people often surmise upon first seeing it.
It also goes by many names in addition to “arugula.” Some of these are “garden rocket,” “rucola,” “rocket salad,” “roquette,” and,. simply, “rocket.”
Arugula is a great source of vitamin C, also iron. It has been grown around the Mediterranean for centuries. The Romans considered it to be an aphrodisiac.
You can use arugula in salads as you would lettuce or spinach; just wash it thoroughly, spin it dry in a salad spinner (or drain it in a colander) and shred it into bite-sized pieces before adding.
The tastiest way to use arugula use it in a cooked recipe, such as a pasta or meat dish. Arugula has a natural peppery taste that goes well in Italian recipes particularly.
Here’s an arugula recipe my family really loves. Actually, the star of the recipe is the spaghetti-plus-ham, but in my opinion it’s the arugula and olives that really make it special.
1 lb spaghetti
1/4 pound ham, thinly sliced
5 cups arugula
1 small chopped onion
1 cup parmesan cheese
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lb chopped pitted olives
4 tomatoes, quartered
1. Cook spaghetti in a large pot. Drain and set aside.
2. Cut the ham into small pieces. Place in a skillet. Add onion and olives. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.
3. Add ingredients from skillet (ham, onion, olives) to spaghetti.
4. Add arugula, cheese and lemon juice to spaghetti. Mix well.
5. Divide the spaghetti onto 4 serving plates. Place tomato quarters (4 each) on top of the plates of spaghetti. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes.
Serve and enjoy!