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Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, host of Food Network's "The Kitchen," makes an easy arugula pesto for a vegetarian ziti pasta that looks fancy but only takes minutes to make. 

He's joined by Bonnie, a viewer who "desperately needed help in the kitchen" and shocked her husband with her new skills after Geoffrey gave her a secret cooking lesson.

Pro Tip: Pesto may be made up to 3 days in advance.


  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups arugula, stemmed
  • 2 cups fresh parsley, stemmed
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, plus more for finishing
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ziti or other short pasta


Serves: 4


Preheat oven to 325˚F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Toast pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven until golden, about 12 minutes. 

Prepare an ice water bath. Add arugula and parsley to the pot of boiling water and blanch, stirring, until bright green and tender, about 30 seconds. Using a spider or slotted spoon, remove arugula and parsley from the pot to drain—reserving the pot of boiling water to cook the pasta—and immediately shock the greens in the ice water. Drain, and lightly squeeze or press with a clean kitchen towel to remove excess water. 

In a blender, combine olive oil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, butter, parmigiano-reggiano, salt and pepper. Blend on high until combined, then turn-off blender and stir in the arugula and parsley with a spoon. Pulse several times, on high-speed for 10-second intervals, until arugula and parsley are fully incorporated. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly to prevent discoloration. 

Return the pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, then drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add pesto and stir gently to coat. Divide among serving bowls and top with extra cheese.