Herby Kale Pesto Pasta with Buttery Walnuts.

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Herby Kale pesto pasta with buttery nuts, also known as deliciously healthy pasta (because hello… there's kale!). Homemade kale pesto with Tuscan kale, lots of fresh basil, and some Parmesan. All mixed with hot pasta, fried lemon, garlic and butter nuts with butter and thyme. It is a simple yet vibrant version of the pesto pasta that is ready in 30 minutes and is perfect for any night of the week. Bonus, the leftovers make a delicious lunch the next day.

I usually save Tuesdays for a sweet treat, bread or some kind of “snacky” item. But this paste felt a little more fitting than I had planned to share. You may have seen yesterday in my Instagram story that we have had complete snowstorm conditions here. That could be another factor in my sudden urge to change things. And hey, when isn't pasta a great idea? Yes … it almost always is, right?

For me, almost nothing is better than a plate of pesto pasta. Especially one that has been buttered, loaded with herbs and served on top of fresh burrata cheese. This recipe is very much my type of recipe.

The history.

It's pretty simple. With winter in full swing here, I've been looking everywhere for something cool when it comes to producing. What I miss the most in winter is our summer herb garden. It is filled with every fresh herb and edible flower you could wish for.

OK, that's a big exaggeration. But we generally have plenty of fresh basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, edible flowers, and growing microgreens. It is my absolute favorite thing to cross the road to the greenhouse and just choose. I really miss that little herb garden. All fresh herbs not only play a role in the development of my recipe, but also in my photos. They add freshness and a pop of color that can come in handy when photographing food.

But in the winter? I really, really fight. Our grocery stores don't always have the freshest selections, so it can be difficult.

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My solution? Buy every green thing imaginable and hope that something jobs. The reality of this "solution" is that I end up with a fridge full of random greens. And that's where this pasta comes in. My fridge was full of random kale and herbs last week that were on their last leg. Instead of just handing them over to the goats, I thought I'd make a kale pesto as an attempt to use everything.

I put everything in my food processor and it ended up being so delicious that I decided to toss the pesto with hot pasta. Then I added buttery walnuts and a ball of my favorite burrata cheese.

Oh So. Good.

Obviously I had to recreate the recipe to share. It's probably not my most creative recipe, but this pasta is GOOD.

Here's how to make the perfect herby kale pesto pasta.

In truth, this is one of the simplest recipes. I know this may seem like a lot of kale, but you guys have to trust me on this. I promise, the kale pesto is very good, and remember, we're not eating it alone, we're tossing it with pasta, adding golden butter nuts, and serving it with fresh burrata cheese.

First, prepare the pesto. Unlike other kale pesto recipes, I decided to keep the cabbage completely raw instead of blanching it first in boiling water. I decided last year, after making this broccoli pesto, that there really is no need to precook the vegetable. The heat of the pasta creates perfectly steamed kale without turning it into mush.

Simply add plenty of Tuscan kale (kale), fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, chopped red pepper (for warming), and salt to a food processor or blender, then pulse until smooth. Simple.

Once the pesto is done, bring some pasta to a boil. I used a short cut of pasta, but any cut of pasta will work fine. Bucatini would be delicious, but the shells are so much fun. Wear what you love the most.

While the pasta is boiling, brown a little butter …

YES. A little golden butter goes a long way here. And yes, you need it. This step takes five minutes, but it makes a difference and creates a recipe that is truly delicious.

The butter turns into a nut, the golden nuts and the thyme becomes perfectly crispy.

Once the nuts are toasted, add a little garlic, then add the pasta and pesto, and mix everything together. As soon as the hot pasta hits that pesto, amazing smells start happening … with hints of basil, fresh lemon and garlic too.

At this point, pour the warm pasta into bowls, add the burrata, and then top with those buttery nuts.

So delicious. Simple. Colorful. Perfect.

Bonus … leftovers are great the next day as an easy desk lunch or even reheated for dinner. You could also add a little roast chicken for protein if you'd like … or maybe some bread?

Again, do what you love, anyway, are we going to plan on making this pasta and soon? It is a good vibrant food to incorporate in these last days of winter. Without a doubt, this is one of my current favorite recipes. I did it on a whim, but I already know that this will become a dish that I repeat often.

It's simple, but warm, and so delicious!

Lastly, if you're making this herby kale pesto pasta with buttery nuts, be sure to leave a comment and / or rate this recipe! Above all, I love hearing from you and I always do my best to respond to every comment. And of course if you make this recipe don't forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the recipe photos that you all have made is my favorite!

A simple and vibrant version of pesto pasta that's ready in 30 minutes

Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes Total time: 30 minutes Servings: 6 Calories: 445 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of Tuscan kale, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 pound of your favorite pasta
  • black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of salted butter
  • 1 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1-2 balls of fresh burrata cheese, at room temperature

Instructions

  1. 1. In a blender or food processor, combine kale, basil, parmesan, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and chopped red pepper. Pulse until smooth and thick.

    2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of water to cook the pasta. Drain the pasta.

    3. Meanwhile, heat butter, walnuts, thyme, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt in large skillet. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until butter is browned and walnuts are toasted. Remove the walnuts from the pan to a plate.

    4. Add garlic to skillet, cooking 1 minute, until fragrant. Put the pasta in the pan. Add the kale pesto, lemon juice, and a pinch of pepper. Mix to combine. Dilute the pasta as desired with the reserved pasta cooking water.

    5. Break the burrata into the bottom of each individual bowl. Put the pasta on the cheese. Top with the buttery walnuts. Enjoy!

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