Pesto Penne

This is Pesto with a difference - yes, yet AGAIN.  But hey, Pesto is one of those cooking basics that can be endlessly reinterpreted, which is a good thing.  Because we've got an ongoing need to use up things creatively, not letting good stuff go to waste, right?  So, this time it is Russian kale and sorrel pesto with walnuts, walnut oil and some fresh mint.  Each time, I think, THIS IS IT, the ultimate pesto. But, probably I'll never be content to just stick with one recipe.

It made a great lunch, tossed with penne and a few of the cooked white beans from another fabulous recipe.  One I found to use the first bunch of my CSA sorrel.  I still had some left, which was the motivation here.

Kale and Sorrel Pesto 
1 bunch kale and 1 small bunch sorrel, stems removed
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup lightly toasted walnuts
2 cloves garlic
small handful fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup walnut oil (or olive oil)
juice of 1 lemon
1/2  teas. kosher salt or to taste
pinch red pepper flakes
The Red Russian Kale is in the strainer and that's sorrel on the counter.
First, bring a large pot of water to boil, and add salt.  After washing and removing the stems from your greens, tear them into smaller pieces.  Put the heartier kale into a frying, or other strainer, then into the boiling water (makes removal much easier, and without dumping your water).  Let the kale simmer until softened, about 6 minutes, then remove into an ice bath.  Put the sorrel into the strainer and simmer in the water (still boiling) for just a minute or so, then add to the ice bath.  Now you can add your pasta to the same boiling water.

When the greens have cooled down, gently squeeze excess water out and add to food processor with remaining ingredients.  Process until it is fairly smooth. 

When the pasta is done, save some of the water before straining, in case things seem too dry.  Toss, in the same pot, with an amount of pesto to taste.  This depends upon how many you are serving, but you want a good coating on the penne.  I used a brown rice pasta, which not only tastes very good, but has the advantage of being gluten free.  Add some cooked, marinated beans, if you like, and a squeeze of extra lemon juice.

What a serendipitous amalgam of flavors!  The toasted walnut goes very nicely with kale, lemony sorrel, and mint. This is my Presto Pasta Nights contribution, which this week is being hosted by Susan, The Well Seasoned Cook.

Check out all the delicious recipes at our round-up.


Susan said...

O.M.G., Claudia. Just when you think you've heard it all with pesto, here comes a recipe that is so novel it fascinates: sorrel, kale, and mint. : }

Thanks so much for introducing it to others for PPN!

Ruth Daniels said...

It's hard to believe that I used to think there was only one kind of pesto. Now I'm much more open minded and so glad you shared this beauty. Thanks for sending it to Presto Pasta Nights.

Anonymous said...

love those white beans with anything. Just stumbled upon your blog and see we have a few things in common.

daphne said...

sometimes, we need to think out of the box and this version is awesome! thanks for sharing!! yum!

The Food Hunter said...

This is a great pesto recipe. I can't wait to try it

Bethany said...

What a great mix of flavors! This sounds amazing! I will definitely have to try this.