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Tuscan Pesto-Dressed Penne with Crispy Kale with Garlic

Tuscan Pesto-Dressed Penne with Crispy Kale with Garlic


  • 1 pound penne rigate or rigatoni rigate or other short-cut shape

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 bundle Tuscan kale, stemmed and cut into large irregular shapes

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for dressing

  • Freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

  • 1 cup basil leaves (about 50 leaves), packed

  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, packed

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a generous handful)

  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino cheese


Place a rack in the center of the oven. Pre-heat the broiler.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water to al dente, 8-10 minutes. Heads up: reserve a mugful or about 1 1/2 cups of the starchy cooking water just before draining.

Arrange the kale on a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Dress the kale lightly with EVOO and season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Broil until crisp and charred at the edges, 3-5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and reserve.

Toast the nuts in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant.

Place the herbs in food processor and add the nuts. Then grate in the garlic, season with salt and pepper and add the cheeses and 1/2 cup EVOO. Pulse into a thick pesto sauce and adjust the seasoning. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

Add 1 cup of the starchy cooking water to the pesto. Toss the pasta and sauce to combine. If the pasta is dry, add the remaining 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water. Fold in half of the crispy kale and garnish with the remainder.

Serve with Broiled Tomato Crostini.