Tuscan Kale Pesto-Vegetarian-Autumn/Winter

Tuscan Kale Pesto

Tuscan Kale Pesto
Serves 6
Cavolo nero, black leaf kale, dinosaur, or laciniato kale is used extensively in Tuscan cuisine. It is at its sweetest after the first frost. Look for leaves between 12 and 18 inches long that are dark and even in color.

1 large bunch Tuscan kale, center rib removed
kosher salt
3 garlic cloves peeled, 2 whole and one minced
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup grated pecorino Tuscano
2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1 pound pappardelle pasta

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the kale and 2 whole cloves of garlic. Cook at a simmer until bright green, about 4-5 minutes.

2. Add into the bowl of a food processor the minced garlic, walnuts, lemon juice, and black pepper. Pulse on and off until the walnuts are minced.

3. Remove the kale and garlic with a skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer both to the bowl of the food processor. Make sure you drain the excess water.

4. Return the pot of water the kale was cooked in to a boil. When it comes to a boil add the pasta and cook until al dente.

5. Pulse food processor until kale is finely chopped. With the machine running slowly pour in the olive oil. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and pecorino to the kale. Pulse until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

6. Place a couple of tablespoons of pesto in the bottom of a preheated serving bowl. Reserve one cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Drain the pasta well and add to the pesto and toss. If the pasta seems too dry add some of the reserved pasta water and toss. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of the chili flakes.

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Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie