Pesto Kale Pasta

Our local farmer's market has basil at incredible prices. Basil is one of my favorite flavors: it reminds me of summer, gardening, fresh mozzarella and eating outside.

A few weeks ago, we got a tremendous amount of basil and almost immediately processed it into a huge jar of pesto. Our pesto is distinctly garlicky, with a few hunks of parmesan and pine nuts ground in, and plenty of fruity olive oil.

We use it on lots of things: sandwiches, rice bowls, pastas, salads, crackers...

Most recently, we combined it with kale, white beans and pasta to create a quick and easy dinner.

We used white beans because of their neutral flavor and soft texture--a great way to add creaminess to a pasta dish without busting out the dairy. We made a big batch in our slow cooker to use in chili and the leftovers went into this dish.

The next day, I added some fresh corn to my leftovers and it became a whole new meal: crunchy, sweet and lightly summery, instead of warm, creamy and comforting summer flavors. Make it either way.

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Pesto Kale Pasta
serves 4-6

1 lb shaped pasta
1T olive oil
1T chili flakes
15 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of your knife
3 bunches kale, washed, gently dried and chopped (feel free to remove the stems--I think it's a pain)
2 cobs of corn, kernels only (optional)
2c cooked white beans
0.5c pesto

1. Bring copious amounts of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente--usually 2-3 minutes short of time indicated on package. RESERVE 2 CUPS OF COOKING LIQUID BEFORE DRAINING.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large, wide, lidded pot. (We used our wok. A dutch oven would also work.)
3. Add the chili flakes and garlic, stirring gently for 1-2minutes or until fragrant.
4. Add the kale to the pan, stir/toss to combine, and cover. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until wilted. If all the liquid evaporates, add 0.25c of pasta water.
5. Stir corn kernels and beans into kale and let warm.
6. Meanwhile, add pesto and 1c of pasta water to pasta pot; bring to a boil and let thicken for 1 minute. Stir in pasta and simmer for 2 minutes. There should still be some sauce left--if not, add pasta water, 0.25c at a time.
7. Gently combine pasta, sauce and vegetables. Serve in warm bowls, with extra parmesan cheese.
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