This recipe features my all-time favorite green: Toscano kale–also known as Cavolo Nero (or dinosaur kale, black kale or Tuscan cabbage). This pesto can be used in many different ways–a few of my favorites are spread over flatbread; mixed with a little ricotta or soft, homemade cheese and tossed with pasta; or thinned with a little olive oil and used as a sauce for poultry.
The first version of this that I made had anchovies in it, which I absolutely love, and I often throw in a few anyway. Unfortunately, it seems that not many people share my passion for anchovies, so I’ve left them out. If you appreciate gastronomic nirvana like I do, add 3-4 fillets during the final puree to add flavor and depth.
Kale and Spring Onion Pesto
- 1/2 lb. Toscano kale
- 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
- the juice of half a lemon
- a small bunch of spring onions, sliced
- 1/4 c. nuts (I often use pine nuts but walnuts, cashews or pecans work here, too)
- 1/4-1/3 c. olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Remove the stems from the kale and tear into rough pieces. Steam the kale in a heavy pot with a lid for 3-5 minutes or until wilted and bright green, using a little water or broth. Drain the kale and add to the bowl of a food processor along with the Parmesan, lemon, spring onions, nuts and 1/4 c. of olive oil. Blend into a smooth paste or leave a little bit more roughly textured, if you prefer a rustic pesto. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste, plus the remaining olive oil if the mixture seems dry.
Make it vegan: Use 1/4 c. nutritional yeast or more nuts in place of the Parmesan.
Make it nut-free: Use extra Parmesan or nutritional yeast.