Now that my husband Ted has declared kale pesto his favorite, I'm finding other ways to use the basil I planted in my herb garden to make a winter's worth of pesto for the freezer, and I'm also finding other ways to work this kale version into my summer cooking. Pasta with kale pesto, shrimp and tomato won our hearts, and I can't wait to make it again with cherry tomatoes from the garden in a month or so. The surprising thing about kale pesto is that it doesn't taste like a dark leafy green at all; it's redolent with garlic and cheese, just like pesto Genovese made with basil, but the flavor is a bit lighter and brighter. If you prefer, omit the shrimp in this recipe, or substitute shredded rotisserie chicken to make an easy dish even easier.
Pasta with kale pesto, shrimp and tomato
For the pesto:
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 large cloves garlic, trimmed and roughly chopped
4 cups roughly chopped kale leaves
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
1 lb pasta (your choice, regular or whole wheat, any size; I like Dreamfields rotini)
1 lb large (21-25 or 26-30 size) peeled and deveined raw shrimp, defrosted if frozen
3 ripe plum tomatoes, diced, or 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or more to taste
Fresh black pepper
Place the almonds and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse 10 times, until the almonds and garlic resemble coarse meal. Add the remaining pesto ingredients, and process until the pesto is the consistency you like. If you wish, add more olive oil to make a smoother sauce. (Pesto can be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated.)
Bring a large pot with 6 quarts of water to boil. Add the pasta, bring the water back to the boil, reduce to low and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp to the pot, and cook until the shrimp is pink and curled, and the pasta is done (cooked, but not mushy). Drain well, and pour into a mixing bowl.
Stir in the pesto, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Add more cheese if you wish, or save it to top individual portions. Season with fresh black pepper, to taste (you won't need salt, because the cheese is salty).
Serve warm or at room temperature. Or, cool completely and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Pasta with peas and parsley-walnut pesto
Penne with roasted red pepper pesto
Risotto with pesto, peas and pine nuts
Spaghetti with basil pesto, tomato and olives
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Kale and romaine Caesar salad, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Lemony kale pasta, from Annie's Eats
Summer pasta with shrimp and kale, from Sarah's Cucina Bella
Harissa spaghettini, from 101 Cookbooks
Braised kale with pasta, from One Perfect Bite
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