Each week when I open my CSA box I find a bunch of kale. These ruffled green leaves are still a challenge for me. I like broccoli, and this is another brassica I should have no trouble sauteing or boiling and eating plain, but for some reason that's intimidating. Instead, I look for recipes, feeling perpetually confused about how I'm going to cook with kale. Everyone recommends kale chips. I'll try another batch at some point, but the first I made turned out so poorly I'll continue to avoid repeating that experience for awhile.
The same day that I found the Almond Joy Layer Cake I also came across this recipe from Rachael Ray for Kale Walnut Pesto. Knowing I had a package of tortellini in the freezer that was in need of cooking, I decided this pesto recipe was exactly what I was looking for. It was great the night we made it, and it's made great leftovers for lunch in the days since then. I highly recommend you give this recipe a shot--it'll definitely help you use up any kale you may not know what to do with! Along with being good on pasta, I'm thinking this could make a good sandwich spread...
The pesto requires:
"1/2 bunch kale" Make a judgement call here--I was using baby kale, and the bunch was significantly smaller than what I'll be getting as a bunch when the weather warms and the crop has grown a bit more. I'd say this was about 4 loosely packed cups of kale leaves. Discard the stems and coarsely chop the leaves.
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted on the stove at medium heat until fragrant.
1 clove garlic, chopped (You may be temped to add more. Don't.)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Cook the kale in a large pot of salted water until tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Use the kale water to cook your pasta. The pasta is up to you. Something with a bit of texture will hold the sauce better. 1 pound will do.
2. Squeeze the kale to remove excess water. Put kale, walnuts, garlic, and Parmesan into your food processor. Process until almost smooth, adding salt and pepper as desired.
3. Slowly add olive oil to kale mixture with food processor running.
Voila! You have kale walnut pesto! Add to your pasta, add some extra cheese if you like, and enjoy!