Kale Pesto Pasta with Toasted Pine Nuts

Monday, January 21, 2013

It's another glorious(ly freezing) meatless Monday, and today I bring you a warm pasta dish to help ward off the chill of this negative degrees late January day. If you haven't picked up on it yet, it would be an enormous stretch to tell you that I enjoy this time of year.

Many of us turn to comfort food when the temps begin to dip below freezing, and while I myself enjoy the occasional calorie-filled cheesy casserole, January typically means New Year's Resolution time. Lucky for you, today's recipe is not only delicious, it is also healthy. I should note that T thinks this is one of the best dishes I've made for him. Love myself some bonus points!

Step One: Rinse kale, tear into pieces, and blanch in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove to an ice bath to stop the kale from cooking further. Remove from ice bath, and place on paper towels to soak up any water.

Step Two: Toast pine nuts while kale blanches, and then add kale, parmesan, garlic, pine nuts, salt, and olive oil to a food processor. Pulse until you achieve a rough pesto-like consistency with some texture remaining.

Step Three: Cook pasta, and reserve 1 C pasta water. Remove pasta to a large serving bowl, add pesto and reserved water, and toss to combine. Serve with grated parmesan and toasted pine nuts.

Recipe from Farmhouse Table

KALE PESTO PASTA WITH TOASTED PINE NUTS | Yield: 6 servings | Total Time: 25 minutes


1 bunch fresh kale, washed and leaves torn*
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 C pine nuts, lightly toasted, divided
salt & pepper
1 package extra-wide egg noodles, or paparadelle, cooked al dente*

NOTE: *I used curly kale for this recipe, but any type of kale will work as a substitute. I used extra-wide Amish egg noodles, but any kind of pasta will work.


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Plunge kale leaves in water to blanch (approx. 30 seconds), then immediately drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain in colander, then lay on paper towels to extract as much water as possible.

After blanching, place kale pieces in the bowl of a food processor with garlic, parmesan, and all but 2 Tbsp of toasted pine nuts. Add a generous pinch of salt, and pulse briefly to combine and chop. Drizzle in the olive oil, and continue to pulse until you achieve a pesto-like consistency with some texture remaining. You want a rough chop, not a smooth puree. Adjust olive oil for desired consistency - not all kale bunch sizes are created equal!

Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente, drain and reserve 1 cup of cooking water. Place pasta in a large serving bowl, and add pesto and cooking water. Toss until noodles are coated with pesto. Serve immediately, and garnish with additional pine nuts and grated parmesan.

Do you have a favorite recipe for homemade pesto?

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Thanks for visiting! Let me know if you have any suggestions of recipes I should try, fun ideas to do with the kiddo, or a suggested adventure to add to our bucket list!

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