This is one of those times when I wish I was the kind of person who could belt out as loud as I can, arms stretched to the sky, “Looord, haaavvve merrrrcy!!!” Unfortunately, I’m a petite Jewish girl from New Jersey and it wouldn’t quite come out right. But I felt that way, at least in my head as I watched my son, Ben chow down on his bowlful of kale pesto. I kid you not. Every bite he took, I just imaged the antioxidants swimming around in his little body, all those vitamins performing their magic.
I need to say that this was a long time coming. It started last summer when we planted basil and my kids each had their own pot. There was this miracle day when they picked fresh basil (grown with their own hands from seed!) and started tossing the leaves into the food processor to make pesto. I was doubtful that their interest would go beyond shooting basil hoops into the processor basket, but at dinner, they actually ate it. I couldn’t believe it. So now, we’ve had basil pesto from time to time, sometimes with success and sometimes not. But I thought to myself, hey, that rice experiment went so well, I’m going to try that out with pesto! (I realize that no, that experiment was a total fail, but the idea is solid, right?) Why not make kale pesto?
So I went about my business, making family dinner, Jewish guilt in full force thinking that my kids will starve tonight. It got the best of me because I heated up a couple fish sticks on the side just in case. (Sorry, but sometimes I just need a little something to take the edge off. ) But my worries were for naught because at least one of my sons scarfed those noodles down and asked for more. Twice.
This is kale I’m talking about. The king of all things green. The super power wonder veg.
Needless to say, I celebrated that night with other antioxidants in the form of red wine, because you know, we’re really into this whole health kick thing. And I might have even topped it off with dark chocolate. I’m basically like superwoman right now. So watch out.
Kale Pesto Pasta
1/2 bunch large kale, rinsed and leaves torn off of stems
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan for about 4 minutes until turning golden
about 2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 pound pasta
Boil water for pasta in a large stock pot. Salt the water well when boiled. Toss in kale leaves and cook for about 4 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and add to bowl of food processor. Add pasta to your water and follow directions on box.
In your food processor with the kale, add your peeled garlic, toasted pine nuts and salt and blend, making sure all is blended. With motor running, slowly add oil until it reaches a consistency that is not too runny. Transfer to a bowl and stir in your grated parmesan cheese.
Remove a 1/2 cup of pasta water and put aside before draining pasta. Drain, add pesto into your pot (you may not need all of it, add about half first and you can always add more later), add your noodles and your reserved pasta water. Stir to combine. Season with more salt, if needed and add more pesto if needed.