THE MANY FACES OF KALE

The other day I bought a huge, and I mean HUGE bunch of kale with the firm idea of making a frittata with it. As the afternoon moved along, I changed my mind on our menu, and the kale transmogrified into a light gratin.   But I also  toyed with the idea of simple kale chips (which I love), only to drop that and settle on a salad.  Maybe settle is not quite right.  By the time I jumped on dinner preparation, the kale ended up as pesto. Flip-flopper? Who, me?  😉

FARFALLE WITH KALE PESTO
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 big bunch of kale, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
1/4 cup of walnuts, toasted
pinch of red pepper flakes
olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup yogurt

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil.  Drop the kale leaves and blanch them for a couple of minutes.  Immediately drain, and rinse briefly in cold water. Drain well, then place in a salad spinner to dry the leaves as much as possible.

Add the toasted walnuts and red pepper flakes to the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds.  Add the blanched kale and process together with the nuts until a paste forms.  Season with salt and pepper.  Squeeze lemon juice all over. Close the processor, and add the olive oil as a stream.  Once the oil is incorporated, stop to scrape the sides of the bowl, add yogurt and process until everything is smooth.   Taste, adjust seasoning, and reserve.

Meanwhile, cook farfalle pasta until al dente, reserving some of the pasta cooking water.  When the pasta is cooked, mix with the pesto, and add the reserved cooking water to thin the sauce, if necessary.   Serve with plenty of parmigiano-reggiano cheese grated on top.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  I’ve seen recipes for kale pesto in which the raw leaves are processed with the usual suspects (garlic and olive oil).  I decided it would be too harsh for our taste, so  I took the extra step of blanching the leaves.  If you are a garlic lover, add a couple of cloves together with the walnuts.   I loved this version of pesto,  and even used some as a spread for a ham sandwich at lunch next day.   All amounts are a bit eye-balled,  if you like the flavor of olive oil to be more pronounced, use more and omit or reduce the yogurt.   Don’t leave the lemon juice out, though – it adds that citric brightness that is a must in this recipe.

For additional kale inspirations, a small sample of recipes from the internet:  

Kale Gratin … A nice recipe from Taste Food,  she used spinach, but I think kale would be great too

Kale Salad with Butternut Squash… from Eats Well with Others

Kale Frittata... from My Kitchen in the Rockies

Golden Chard Pie… from the early days of my blog

Kale Chips… from not so early days of my blog

and for an interesting twist on this great veggie, take a look at these cute Quinoa and Kale Patties

ONE YEAR AGO:  Short and Sweet

TWO YEARS AGO: Ciabatta, a Classic Italian Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: Magical Lamb Stew