Serves a Crowd

Kale PestoΒ Orecchiette

January  2, 2014
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Here's a not-so-traditional pesto recipe -- hold the herbs and nuts. The recipe yields enough pesto for two dishes, so you can stock up the freezer! Any pasta could be used with the pesto, but I love how the orecchiette cups hold onto pools of pesto. —Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a great recipe to transition from summer to fall. A garden-fresh, family meal that's hearty but light, fresh, and filling. And the extra pesto you make is a time-saver for a future meal. —Mid-Mitten Homemade

  • Makes 4 servings, plus 1 container of pesto for the freezer
  • 2 bunches (about two cups) lacinato kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cups olive oil
  • 1 pound (1 box) orecchiette pasta
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
In This Recipe
  1. This recipe makes about double what you need for pasta. I made the pesto and put half of it in the freezer for a super easy meal down the road.
  2. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, onion, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the kale and 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Cover and let steam and cook for 8 minutes, until the kale is soft.
  3. In a food processor, pulse together the parmesan cheese, lemon juice, white vinegar, kale mixture, and a dash of salt and pepper about 8 times. Blend everything together as you pour 1/2 - 3/4 cup olive oil into the food processor in a slow, steady stream. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.
  4. Transfer about half of the pesto, which should be about 1 to 2 cups total, to a large serving bowl. Add the other half to a sealable container and pop in the freezer.
  5. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the box in salty water. Before draining, add 1/2 cup pasta water to the pesto in the bowl. Drain the pasta and add it directly to the pesto. Combine everything with two wooden spoons and serve hot.

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