Welcome to your new favorite way to eat your greens- kale pesto pasta.
Our kale pesto recipe is perfect for making the sauce in this dish. Unlike a traditional pesto, ours uses a generous amount of blanched kale. Blanching the kale is a crucial step. It softens the kale making it easier to blend, it makes the green color extra bright, and eliminates some of the kale’s natural bitterness.
To make this pesto you essentially blend together blanched kale leaves, lemon, garlic, parmesan, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. If your blender isn’t the best, use a little more olive oil or a little salty pasta water to help it smooth out.
If you would like to make this a vegan kale pesto recipe, simply use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan.
How to make kale pasta sauce
The key to making this kale pasta sauce is the murky, starchy pasta water leftover after you boil the pasta. Don’t pour that liquid down the drain! The pasta water is liquid gold and it transforms the kale pesto into a silky, saucy pasta.
To achieve a well-seasoned pasta and salty, starchy pasta water, you have to heavily salt your water. We’re talking salty like the ocean. Seasoning food properly is something that turns good food into great food, and pasta is no exception.
For every 4 quarts of pasta water, add 2 TB of Diamond Crystal Kosher or 4 tsp. Morton’s Kosher.
After you have cooked your pasta to a nice al dente, scoop out a cup of the pasta water. Once the pasta is drained, dump it back into the pot with a little bit of butter. Start stirring, add the pesto, slowly pour in pasta water as needed, and the sauce begins to emulsify.
It’s during this moment of pasta science when the pasta water absorbs all the amazing flavors and it becomes a savory luscious kale pesto pasta sauce.
Kale Pesto Pasta
- 1 Cheese grater
- 1 Large Pot
- 1 Kale pesto
- ½ lb spaghetti
- 1 tb butter
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
- kosher salt and pepper
- Place a large pot of generously salted water over high heat, and bring to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente according to package instructions.
- Ladle out a cup of the hot pasta water and set aside. Then drain the pasta and return it to a dry pot with 1 tb of butter.
- Add the kale pesto, a splash of the pasta water, and the grated parmesan cheese. Toss until all the pasta is coated, adding more pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce and make it creamy. Serve immediately.