Rigatoni with Lemony Kale-and-Pecorino Pesto
Making pesto with kale instead of basil isn't just healthier, it's unexpectedly delicious.
- 1.5 Pound Tuscan kale, stemmed
- Kosher salt
- Pinch of Aleppo pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
- 1.5 Ounce Pecorino Toscano cheese, coarsely grated (1/2 cup), plus more for serving
- 0.67 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 0.25 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 1 Pound rigatoni
- Freshly ground pepper
- Bring 2 large pots of generously salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Add the kale to one of the pots and cook for 1 minute, until bright green and just tender. Drain and immediately transfer to the ice water. When cool, drain again. Transfer the kale to a work surface with some water clinging to the leaves and chop.
- Meanwhile, add the rigatoni to the other pot of boiling water. Cook until almost al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
- Transfer the kale to a blender. Add the garlic and pine nuts and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil and process until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large bowl and stir in the 1/2 cup of Pecorino and the lemon zest. Season to taste with the Aleppo pepper, salt and black pepper.
- Return the pasta to the pot. Add the pesto and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, adding some of the pasta water if it seems dry. Spoon the pasta into bowls, top with additional cheese and Aleppo pepper and serve.
Recipe Credit: Chris Cosentino
Image Credit: Fredrika Stjärne