I love pesto. On pasta, bread, mozzarella cheese, plain, you name it. Until recently I always thought pesto was made out of your typical ingredients: basil, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. While that is a traditional and commercial kind of pesto, there are so many different ways you can experiment with the components of this sauce.
Pesto simply means “to crush” in Italian (fun fact courtesy of Food network). Most pestos have an oil and cheese base, but there are tons of different kinds of those you can play around with, not to mention the different greens and seasonings possibilities.
I discovered this kale and walnut pesto playing around with kale in the kitchen. I love kale. It is so good for you and so versatile, so I thought why not crush some kale and make a pesto?
Kale is a very robust, hearty and flavorful green, so it needs a strong nut to balance the taste and a good salty cheese to accentuate these flavors. I love the strong, sharp bite of a good walnut, which can hold it’s own when paired with flavors like dark chocolate, so I figured it could stand up the the kale in this pesto. This is a very robust and flavorful pesto, so a little goes a long way… But I think that is really the case with any pesto. This one is very hearty and will stick to you for the winter months!
1 bunch kale, stems mostly removed
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch kosher salt
2/3 cup parmesan reggiano cheese
Blanch and shock your kale so it retains its green color. Let dry for 30 minutes. Add kale to food processor and pulse until very finely chopped. Add walnuts, lemon juice and salt. Pulse until walnuts are incorporated. Slowly add olive oil until you achieve a pasty consistency. Add cheese and continue to blend until incorporated. Enjoy on pasta, bread, plain, in a wrap or sandwich, or on top of cheese!
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