Posted by: lisetta | July 15, 2010

Spaghetti alla rughetta e pomodoro

OK, so it’s been, like, years. You can’t really find wild arugula in cellophane bags at the Trader Joe’s. Even if you did, it wouldn’t have the bitter bite of the freshly picked leaves, long and slender:

Fancy my Spanish glass plate from Crate and Barrel? I fell in love with them a few weeks ago, and bought 10, just in case I have a dinner party someday. I digress…

I tossed this lovely plate of rughetta into a bowl with some chopped tomato, steaming hot spaghetti, garlic-infused olive oil and a few crumbles of goat cheese. The perfect meal emerged, imho. Have a look:

I adore slightly wilted arugula in a pasta dish, a risotto or on a just-baked pizza. I love arugula whirred into a peppery pesto, or sliced thinly with sweetened summer tomatoes in a salad with a kick.

The ancient Romans apparently considered arugula to be an aphrodisiac. While I did not feel its effects immediately, I did get to wondering about its health benefits. Turns out it packs quite a punch. Though I don’t typically quote agribusiness, I found the following excerpt from Dole’s website most interesting:

Nutrient-rich and low in calories – just 20 calories in about three cups (85g) – arugula provides an excellent source of folate, vitamins A and C, and over 100% of your daily vitamin K needs.This same serving supplies a good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese.The fact that this leafy green, unlike spinach, is lower in oxalates (which as discussed in previous DNNs can inhibit mineral absorption) gives a “green” light to arugula’s calcium availability.Researchers now believe that the nutrients needed for bone building go beyond calcium.

Arugula also has significant quantities of the phytonutrients beta-carotene (promotes healthy eyes, skin and immune function), lutein and zeaxanthin (promote eye health) and glucosinolates (promote the body’s natural detoxification systems).Besides its health benefits, arugula, or “rocket,” is peppery and aromatic, with a pungent, somewhat bitter flavor that adds zest to any meal.



  1. Last February, I tasted baby arugula while in California and decided then & there to put it in my garden. I nibble on it everyday when I water or tend the garden. How did I miss this delicious tangy green all my life?

    Love the simplicity of this dish – my favorite way to make pasta dishes. Thank you for posting this, I can’t wait to try it!

  2. this looks delicious Lisa! not sure if I know what arugula tastes like…

  3. @ Vickie, let me know how it turns out! I sometimes throw rughetta on red sauce, or in a basic white sauce with pine nuts and golden raisins. Until I moved to Italy, I never had it either. I nibble in my garden too…how can you resist after all?

    @mom, you will have to come to philadelphia to taste it!! it’s super peppery when it’s raw, but loses some of its bite when wilted. when i was in giant eagle a few weeks ago, i saw some, but it was the cultivated variety and very large, meaning more bitter.

  4. Yum! My mouth is watering! I love Arugula — in salads, pasta, frittatas, on pizza & bruschetta… Never tried it in risotto, but of course that’s a grand idea!

  5. […] I saw that Lisetta at Mangiare Bene, posted a recipe for Spaghetti alla Rughetta e Pomodoro I was positively giddy – her food is real-deal Italian and I couldn’t wait to give it a […]

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