Kale or your Favorite Green Pesto Pasta

Kale and Beet Greens Pesto
With our weekly allotment of CSA produce, mostly greens, there is a resultant weekly challenge, called using up the greens before Saturday when the new ones arrive.  I do not have a gigantic refrigerator, there is only so much room in it.  The good side of this, is stepping outside the cooking boxes ruts we find ourselves in occasionally, even if that only applies to certain vegetables.  Maybe no one else finds it such a challenge, but believe me, it is around here.  Early on I had determined there would be nothing left from the previous week by Saturday morning.

As an example of trying new things, this week it was Kale and Beet Greens Pesto.  The beets were not from our CSA box, but were so beautiful at the store, that I could not resist, with tops that were equally fine. Both big bunches were reduced down to that little container you see above.  I blanched the kale first for about 6 minutes, and added in the beet greens for another minute, then gave them both an ice bath, to keep their lovely vibrant color.

Basil delivers quite the flavor punch in a pesto, which you have to keep in mind when veering off that path.  Add a bit more garlic, use a really good flavored olive oil, more lemon juice and a zippy hard cheese.  I'll bet mustard greens would be good in this.  Also, I used toasted macadamia nuts, which were nice, but next time will try walnuts.
For the pasta I used an artichoke Foglie, sweet little things made in the shape of olive leaves.  Some sauteed, caramelized fennel was added in to the drained pasta, with a good helping of the Pesto, some pasta water, then stirred together, and toasted breadcrumbs sprinkled on top.  Overall, a pretty easy and delicious dinner.

Kale and Beet Greens Pesto 
2 bunches greens (kale, arugula, basil, beet, mustard, spinach, etc.) stems removed, chopped roughly
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup lightly toasted macadamia nuts, pine nuts, or walnuts
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2  teas. kosher salt or to taste
pinch red pepper flakes

Wash and remove stems from your greens, then dump kale in first, and blanch for 5 or 6 minutes, before adding any more tender greens.  Drain, and place immediately in an ice bath.  When completely cooled down, squeeze out excess water.

Put the nuts, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper into the processor container and whiz til broken down a bit, then add in the greens, lemon juice and half the oil.  Process, adding the remaining olive oil gradually, until it is as smooth as you want it.
On a cracker, possibly an obvious use of the Pesto, but excellent all the same.   Add some to an omelette, or top a fish with it.  Possibilities abound.  Aside from the wonderful pairing with Pasta, that is.  Also, I will be sending it in to Ruth's Presto Pasta Nights, # 160 - hosted this week by Cynthia, The Kitchen Slave.  Be sure to check out all the delicious dishes here at the round-up.


Cynthia said...

This is such a creative pesto! I love it! Thanks for submitting to Presto Pasta Nights!

Ruth Daniels said...

Love your blog and so glad you decided to share your favorite green pesto pasta with Presto Pasta Nights. I'm drooling over it.

Debinhawaii said...

This is such a gorgeous and unique dish Claudia! I made pesto with some kale once and enjoyed it--although I did half basil and half kale. Love the addition of the beet greens. A great way to use up my CSA leafy greens too. ;-)

Claudia said...

Thanks Cynthia and Ruth, glad I had the urge to participate.

Deb, I think half basil would zip it up some, I'm looking forward to experimenting with other greens.

katiez said...

Looks wonderful! What fun to get a CSA box every week - and challenging.... but in a good way ;-))

Barbara said...

Claudia, how creative. I haven't made pesto in ages. Time I made some I think.

Lemons and Anchovies said...

Thanks for stopping by my site. I've never thought to use kale in pesto and this looks great. I also haven't seen anyone else add lemon to their pesto besides me so I say you're a woman after my own heart!


Claudia said...

Often when I taste a pesto, it just seems to cry out for some lemon - maybe all that oil?