Find more recipes like pasta with kale and sunflower seed pesto in "Cooking At Home With Bridget And Julia." Bridget Lancaster and Julia Davison are TV hosts of "America's Test Kitchen." Photo by: Carl Tremblay/America's Test Kitchen
July 18, 2018 10:50:58 AM
Although most people think of pesto as an Italian sauce made with herbs (most famously, basil), many ingredients can be ably featured in a pesto. One of note is kale -- leafy and deep green, with an earthy, slightly bitter flavor.
Pine nuts are too mild a match for kale, so we opt for more assertively flavored sunflower seeds instead. We also add a handful of basil to the mix to brighten and freshen the earthy pesto.
Toasting the garlic cloves gives them a nutty sweetness. An optional teaspoon of red pepper flakes provides some welcome heat. The hearty kale leaves make a thick pesto, which we thin out by stirring in several tablespoons of pasta cooking water before serving.
PASTA WITH KALE AND SUNFLOWER SEED PESTO
Start to finish: 30 minutes
2 unpeeled garlic cloves
4 ounces kale, stemmed and chopped (2 cups)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (¾ cup), plus extra for serving
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound fusilli
Nutrition information per serving: 554 calories; 250 calories from fat; 28 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 6 mg cholesterol; 530 mg sodium; 62 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 16 g protein.