Saturday 15 August 2015
Kale and Walnut Pesto
I've said it before, but will repeat ... pesto can be made with anything! Many combinations of greens and nuts work, and I've even made it with sun-dried tomatoes and pumpkin seeds.
So here's yet another delicious version that I've tried. Many similar recipes called for the kale to be blanched first. I chose not to as I generally lightly saute any pesto I'm using in a heated pan to warm it up before tossing it with pasta, potatoes or serving warm over eggs. So I did not blanch it. But I will say that when the heat first hit the kale pesto, I suddenly smelled cabbage! It definitely needs a bit of heat to mellow out the bitterness, so if you prefer to blanch it, that's good. But my method worked very well and seems easier.
And reading recipes calling for "1 bunch of kale" is useless to folks like me that grow kale in their backyard - what the heck is a bunch? So I've measured mine here to help you out.
1/2 cup whole walnuts
2-3 large cloves garlic (or less to taste - I love garlic)
4 cups (lightly packed) chopped Tuscan (Lacinato) Kale leaves
1/2 cup + of extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese (or other aged cheese), if desired*
*As noted in previous recipes, I never add the cheese. Often I freeze it and would never add cheese in that case. But even if I'm cooking it, I tend to just add the cheese to whatever dish I'm using it in.
In a food processor, process the walnuts and garlic until smooth. Add the kale and begin to pulse. It will soon get a bit thick to process. At this point, start drizzling in olive oil. You'll need at least a 1/4 cup just to get the processor moving smoothly, then continue to add olive oil until it reaches the consistency you want - you don't want it thick nor thin, somewhere in the middle.
I heated the pesto in a pan and tossed it with some shrimp and macaroni (just because that's all I had in the cupboard). Not so pretty but tasted delicious!