Kale Pesto

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Well, I’m still behind on posts but I think I’d better post them in the correct order, because some of the ingredients are grouped. Remember the kale butternut squash pizza we made? Well, this is something else to do with your kale, and extra squash if you have it from that.

I realize this is my second pesto recipe in a total of 4 posts. No shame. As I said before, you can put anything in pesto, and it is delicious. I had a friend over the other day to make garlic scape pesto (post coming), and I took out some arugula and kale pesto to do a mini tasting. This one is her favorite. So.

Kale on its own isn’t super flavorful. I like it, and it’s all the craze right now, but I feel like pesto needs a little more pizzazz. However, I had a lot of kale and I still wanted to make pesto; it just required a few more additions: spicy radishes, because I had too many of them too and they add some zing, and the squash I had leftover from the pizza. I guess that’s kind of the way I like to cook – what do I have, how can something delicious come out of it. It’s like a puzzle. Some things don’t work out, but I’m proud of this one.

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Kale Pesto
1 bunch of kale (maybe 3 cups raw)
About 1/2 cup butternut squash, cubed
Maybe 4 radishes (depending on size), washed and in chunks
About 1/3 cup of hard cheese like parmesan, in chunks
3 cloves garlic, cooked in olive oil (15 sec in the microwave or sautéed)
Olive oil
Lemon juice from about 1/4 of a lemon
Salt and pepper

I realized I haven’t yet told you how to strip kale. Hold onto the stem with one hand (I usually use my right), then hold the base where the leaves start between your hand and your thumb (I don’t know what to call that area between your thumb and your first finger). Pull away with your right hand, and the stem should separate easily from the leaves. If that isn’t a good description, which is may not be, here’s a video that does basically the same thing. I like using the stem (because why throw it out when you can eat it), you just have to start cooking it before adding the leaves. It helps to chop it up first (this is true generally as well as for pesto).

I blanched the kale before adding it – I think you could probably make pesto with raw kale (depending on variety), but blanching makes it a little more tender. To do this, boil and salt water, and put the kale in (stems first for a few minutes by themselves) and boil it for anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes, just until it is tender. Be ready with an ice bath, or just some cold tap water to run over it (I can’t be bothered to get out an extra bowl and besides, I didn’t have any ice) to stop it cooking.

P1010555Once the kale is cool, combine all the ingredients in a food processor (see Arugula Pesto to hear me rave about my Kitchen-Aid hand blender food processor). Process, scraping down the sides a few times. Taste and adjust ratios as you see fit.

I highly recommend this in a cheese melt (bread-pesto-cheese-oven). It is also delicious on pasta, like most pestos. Not bad mixed with arugula pesto, actually. Half the extra goes in the fridge for the week, the rest in the freezer for the winter. Although you could make this when it is not summer as well, unlike other pestos.

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