Friday, February 11, 2011

Pasta with Kale and Goat Cheese Pesto

This is the second time I've made this pasta dish a la Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks. The woman never dissapoints!! I have probably said this before, but I own her cookbook and I've already pre-ordered her next one. 

I made a few changes this time around; namely with the addition of avocado to the kale and goat cheese pesto. Good choice! It added to the texture a bit, adding some nice avocado-y creaminess. I was lukewarm about the flavor at first, but I just ended up adding a bit more goat cheese and that was the ticket! A nice balance of the buttery avo and the tart goat cheese.

Watch out for the hot peppers though! I brought the leftovers to work for lunch and had generously peppered my tupperware-full of pasta with home ground hot pepper flakes. When I reheated it, I just flipped the entire thing into a bowl, without stirring. When I got to the bottom of the bowl, I started sweating from the heat...not realizing I was getting more hot peppers than pasta. So, just a word of warning.


Pasta with Kale, Avocado and Goat Cheese Pesto Serves 4-6
Recipe adapted from (my favorite) 101 Cookbooks
My version of Heidi's delicious dish involves gluten-free pasta and the addition of avocados to the sauce. You can definitely substitute any type of pasta and you'll probably do well with just about any leafy green vegetable instead of kale. I've made this both with avocado and without, the avocado adds a nice creaminess to the sauce and a little depth of flavor. It also balances out the tartness of the goat cheese.

4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 large onion, peeled and quartered
1 small bunch of kale, stalks removed, washed well
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 fresh avocado
1/3 cup goat cheese, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons + hot pasta water
fine grain sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
fresh lemon juice (optional)

1 package brown rice pasta

hot pepper flakes (optional)
grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water generously, and add the garlic and onion. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stir in the kale and cook for another ten seconds. Don't overcook. Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish the greens, garlic, and onions from the water. Use a food processor to puree the ingredients along with the avocado, olive oil and goat cheese. Add a couple tablespoons of hot pasta water if needed to thin things out if needed. Then season with a touch of salt and plenty of black pepper to taste. If you need a little more flavor in the sauce, add fresh lemon juice a bit at a time until you're happy with it. Set aside.

Reheat the pot of water and boil the pasta per package instructions. Drain and toss immediately with the green sauce. Serve topped with a few pinches red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese and more crumbled goat cheese.

Do you have a favorite recipe from another food blogger or a specific chef?

Peace, Love & Bagels,

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