Sunday, February 22, 2015

Diana Henry's Kale Pesto with Pasta

Snowmageddon '15 arrived this week.  Early Monday morning it started snowing here in Kentucky.  Now let me preface this by saying that a mere inch of snow is enough to cause widespread panic here in the Bluegrass.  So you can imagine what happened when we received over a foot of snow Monday afternoon.  No school all week. No mail.  No garbage collection. No anything (and that's not an exaggeration). Then later in the week the arctic temps came in.  Again, when I say arctic I mean it. On Friday it was colder here in Kentucky than it was in Alaska or Antarctica. Record breaking weather for Kentucky. Everything froze up, even the battery in my car died.  Then came the news that we were going to receive another winter storm, this one bringing ice, sleet, freezing rain, and another several inches of snow.  This news gave the term 'widespread panic' new meaning.
While everyone else was out braving the weather for  the last of the bread, milk, eggs, or ground beef (as pictured here) I was warm and cozy inside.  I was thankful for my food hoarding tendencies.  I like to keep a very well stocked pantry, especially in the winter months, because you never know when bad weather will strike.  Lots of pasta, rice, cereal, broth, cheese, frozen veggies, etc.  This way I don't have to venture out in the bad weather and I can throw together dishes like this Kale Pesto with Pasta.

This Kale Pesto with Pasta sounds super virtuous, and it is fairly healthy, but don't let that fool you.  It is  delicious, hearty, and ultra-comforting!  It really hits the spot! Even my non-kale lovers enjoyed it!  The kale pesto is perfectly seasoned with just the right amount of garlic and cheese.  The addition of red pepper flakes is perfect as the spicy heat from the pepper flakes does a subtle job of spicing things up just right. I enjoyed the pesto with larger pieces of kale still remaining for texture, but you could blend the pesto smooth if you were so inclined.  I will definitely make this dish again!

Kale Pesto with Pasta
Adapted from Diana Henry's 
A Change of Apettite
Serves 4-6

1 pound pasta*
12 oz kale (about 4 cups stemmed and chopped)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
2 good quality anchovies, drained
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 - 3/4 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino
really good pinch of dried red pepper flakes (optional)

Notes: Use any pasta you like.  Whole wheat, multigrain, or semolina.  The recipe uses linguine, but I also think fusilli, bowtie, or any other smaller shape would be nice as well. 

 Wash the kale well and strip the fibrous leaves from their stems.  At the same time, bring a large pot of water to a boil, plunge the leaves in, and cook for five minutes.  After five minutes, remove the kale from the boiling water and place into a bowl.  Once the kale is removed add in the pasta and cook until al dente.   

While the pasta is cooking make the pesto.  Place the cooked kale into a food processor with the butter, extra virgin olive oil, parsley, anchovies, garlic and 1/2 cup of the cheese.  Add the red pepper flakes (if using).  Process, using the pulse-blend button.  I like this pesto when it isn't completely pureed but still has quite large flecks in it, so best not to overdo it. Taste the pesto, add the rest of the cheese, salt, and pepper, red pepper flakes, etc. to taste.  Drain the pasta, return it to the pan with a little of it's cooking water, mix in the pesto and serve immediately. Garnish with cheese, if desired.
Theme: Curds & Whey


  1. I could use a comfort dish right about now. I am glad you are a prepped, Kim, it saves a lot of heartache when there is a bad weather situation. You all snug inside had your pantry all ready!

  2. So pretty and green. I made the variation with the arugula but keep meaning to go back and make this one. Hope things are warming up there, or at least that you are still staying warm and cozy inside. ;-)

  3. I always find it pretty funny to hear how people deal with snow in areas that aren't used to it. I mean, it's not really funny because it is so dangerous...but I'm glad to hear you stayed in and kept warm with this pasta!

  4. That doesn't look like panic snow-day cooking! It sounds lovely! I totally sympathise with snowmageddon - London falls apart with an inch of snow.

  5. Gorgeous plate of pasta! I love the vibrant fresh green colour! I really want to try Kale! It is a veggie that cannot be found in my part of the world! I'm planning to get some Kale seeds soon, keeping my fingers crossed that I'll succeed with growing Kale in our hot weather!


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