(recipe from the book Local Flavors used with permission of the author, Deborah Madison)

Serves 4.

local-flavors-cover-blogOnce it gets hot out, those farmers who’ve been providing you with tender, small arugula my suddenly start bringing big, overgrown bunches to market. The leaves are too spicy to enjoy in a salad, and the stems are way too stringy to eat, but the leafy material can be plucked from the stems and cooked.

Sheep’s milk, as well as cow’s milk-ricotta is a good match with the peppery arugula.

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
½ pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 large bunch or bag (about ½ pound) mature arugula
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra virgin to finish
1 plump garlic clove, chopped
several pinches red pepper flakes
½ cup walnuts , toasted and chopped
½ cup sheep’s milk ricotta
freshly grated pecorino cheese

  1. Heat plenty of water for the pasta. When it comes to a boil, add salt to taste and the spaghetti. Cook until al dente and drain. While the spaghetti is cooking, stem the arugula, chop coarsely, and wash. Do not dry.
  2. Warm the oil in a large skillet with the garlic and pepper flakes. Cook over
    medium heat until the garlic turns light gold, a minute or so, then add the arugula
    with the water clinging to its leaves. Season with a few pinches of salt and cook
    until wilted and tender, about 3 minutes. Add the cooked spaghetti directly to the
    pan, then toss with the walnuts, ricotta, and grated cheese. Season with pepper
    and serve with extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the top.