Wednesday, June 4, 2008
We knocked out a healthy bunch of red Russian kale tonight for dinner simply by substituting kale for basil in pesto. We tossed our kale pesto with thick homemade whole wheat noodles, but any pasta will do. Also, we sprinkled a handful of raisins over each portion, always a delicious combination: sweet raisins are great with kale, and together they pack an iron punch for vegetarians, pregnant ladies and Popeye impersonators.
Again, this is a situation where kale type matters: you want a sweet variety like red Russian, karinata or even those flowering ornamental kales I've only ever seen in regular old supermarkets. The curly red or green kinds are a little too bitter for this type of showcase.
1 bunch (4-5 cups) red Russian kale, stemmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
1/4-1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
Place kale and garlic in a strainer over the sink and pour about 5 cups of boiling water over: this will blanch any bitterness from the kale and mellow the raw garlic. Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until they are touched with golden brown. Combine small batches of kale, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse well until you have a smooth paste. Stir your batches together and salt to taste. Toss with hot pasta, spread on crackers or bread, or use to top baked potatoes.