Kale Stalk Pesto With White Beans And Tortellini
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This is a recipe that makes excellent use of the stalks from kale. It is good because there are many recipes that use kale leaves, but barely any that use the stalks. Consequently, many stalks get thrown away. Of course, there are probably many people who would smile and say, “But they go in the compost bin! Surely that is good, right?” While this is not a terrible plan, it is also not the best one.

A better plan is to use the stalks to make pesto. They do not have much flavor, but they have a good amount of nutrition. Consequently, the best plan of attack for their consumption is to combine them with other ingredients that have flavor.

Start by taking the stalks and cutting them into one-inch pieces. Also take parsley—both the leaves and the stalks—and chop them into pieces that are a few inches long. For the parsley, it is beneficial to have pieces that are shorter than the full stalks.

Take two large cloves of garlic or three smaller ones and peel them. Next, chop them into about four pieces each.

Measure out half a cup of walnuts. Toast them in a skillet turned to medium heat until they are a little darker and start to give off a more intense nutty aroma. This should only take a few minutes. Take the skillet off of the heat and allow the nuts to cool.

Put the kale stalks, parsley, garlic and walnuts in a food processor and pulse it until they become like course sand. Add in half of a cup of grated parmesan and the zest and juice of one lemon. Continue to food process. Add half of a cup of olive oil and puree until the entire mixture is smooth and combined.

This pesto is fantastic to stir into lentil soup or to spread on bread if you are making a sandwich.

One of my favorite things to do with this recipe is to cook some white beans. Typically, when I cook white beans I cook them in vegetable stock with sliced garlic and one herb or another, such as thyme, parsley or oregano. This give them a greater depth of flavor. So. I cook one cup of white beans which makes three cups. Then I drain them and get out a large skillet. I pour in a small amount of olive oil—maybe one fourth of a cup—and brown the beans until they start to get a little golden.

I also take a package of fresh tortellini and cook them. They go in with the beans. Now, add some of the kale pesto and enjoy!


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