Isn’t dinosaur kale cool looking? It looks like the scales on a green prehistoric beast. Kale is all the rage these days because it is chock-full of vitamins and minerals. My daughter and I love it, but my husband and son are sick of it. So sometimes I need to be sneaky. I sneaked some dinosaur kale into this pesto, and the guys didn’t even realize it was there. The pesto tasted great and had increased nutritious value. Although I usually make pesto in August from my homegrown basil leaves, I wanted to make this now, when the kale is flavorful from winter frosts. I saute the garlic briefly before adding it to mellow the sharp flavor of raw garlic.
1 ½ cups dinosaur kale leaves, stems and ribs discarded
1 ½ cups (1 bunch) fresh whole basil leaves, stems discarded
1 medium clove garlic, sliced
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp sea salt plus 1 tsp for pasta water
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cooking water from pasta
Heat a large pot with water and 1 tsp salt to boiling. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
Remove stems and heavy ribs from kale and basil. Pulse kale and basil leaves in food processor. Briefly saute garlic and remove before it browns. Add the garlic, pine nuts and salt. Pulse until all ingredients are diced very fine. Add grated Parmesan. Pour in oil while machine is running. When pasta is cooked, pour in 1/4 water from the pot into the pesto and pulse. Scrape the sides of the processor, then pulse a final time.
Drain pasta and mix in pesto.
I like to saute about 6 quartered mushrooms and stir into the pasta and pesto. I sauteed the mushrooms and then added the garlic to the frying pan for a minute.