Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kale Pesto Sauce

Egg noodle tagliatelle with garlicy pesto sauce, mushrooms and chicken is pasta heaven for me.
Now, given that I am not a fan of cheese or cream sauces, I find store bought pesto sauces never suit my tastes. I found a recipe a few years back for an easy, basic pesto and it has been my go to. For a few years the Hamilton Farmers Market had a stall where they would sell huge bunches of basil for two bucks. I would stock up, make a bunch of sauce and freeze it. Unfortunately, said stall no longer exists. So this leaves the options of buying basil at the grocery store (can be pricey) or growing my own. Grow my own, sounds easy...not so! I have tried to grow basil for the past two summers with no success. A colleague at work, who is a gardening guru, has since filled me in that pinching the flowers off the plant is the key to big leaves. Crossing my fingers that this summer, third time will be a charm.

I decided to give my go to recipe a whirl with another leafy green...kale. Another twist was using walnuts instead of pine nuts (also pretty steep in the price department). Are you getting the hint that I am kinda cheap? Friends say frugal which is a nice way of putting it ;)

Here you have it, traditional pesto with a twist. Below is the recipe for the sauce itself. This time I served it over rigatoni with sautéed mushrooms mixed into the sauce and brocollini drizzled with lemon infused olive oil on the side. You can use this sauce in the same way you'd use pesto...over chicken, pasta, rice, or quinoa dishes.

Kale Pesto Sauce
4 cups tightly packed kale leaves washed and dried
1/2 cups toasted walnuts
1tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic

Toast walnuts in a frying pan on medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring often. Toss all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. You can use the sauce right away or freeze. My trick for freezing the sauce is to put the sauce into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight. You them then pop the little frozen sauce balls out, put them into a ziplock bag, and toss back into the freezer.  This is a nice method because you can take out as many balls as you need.

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