October 7, 2013

Pappardelle with Kale Pesto

I was flipping through Rachael Ray Magazine a few weeks ago at the nail salon and stopped dead in my tracks on her kale pesto recipe.  I took a picture of it on my phone and would not rest until I tried it.  And why not make homemade pappardelle while I’m at it, I thought? When I was little, I often made pasta with my mom and my nonna.  We laid strings of spaghetti on blue and white striped kitchen towels draped over every surface of the kitchen.  If I remember correctly, we had a pasta machine.  I don’t have one now; I don't have the space and I don’t make pasta often enough.

When I do make pasta, I find it really fun to hand roll it.  Come to think of it, hand rolled pasta was my very first blog entry for Brooklyn Salt, although I wasn’t using any rolling technique; in fact I used an old wine bottle from the recycling bin to roll the dough out like I would pie dough.  When I decided to make pappardelle, I made sure to carefully read through Marcella Hazan’s instructions on hand rolling pasta the proper way.  It made me nervous, but as I rolled, I totally got the hang of it.  Pasta rolling must be in my genes.  I can’t say I’m a pro yet, but I look forward to becoming one.  Here’s a random video of a pro.  Just when you think she's gonna stop, she just keeps on going.  There's a special, long, thin rolling pin made especially for rolling pasta dough but unfortunately I had only a standard baking rolling pin to work with. 

A pizza cutter is a great tool for cutting pasta!

This is actually mustard greens which I didn't know until I blanched it and got a nostril full of wasabi-like mustard fumes.  Had to run to the store and buy some kale.

Here's some store bought pappardelle I bought after the homemade stuff ran out.
An important tip for toasting nuts in a pan: don't turn your back or they'll burn before you know it!  Pine nuts aren't cheap.
I didn’t include instructions on how to make homemade pappardelle here because I think I’m the only food-obsessed nut job who would make hand rolled pasta on Saturday evening. But I could be wrong...let me know if I am.  For those of you who want a quick dinner, you can probably find pappardelle at your grocery store.  If not, use a linguine or other wide noodle.

RECIPE (Almost exactly Rachael Ray's Pappardelle with Kale Pesto Recipe)

Makes 4-6 servings

1 bunch kale leaves, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted in a pan until lightly browned (don't burn 'em!)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
12 ounces dried pappardelle 
1-2 tablespoons butter (optional)

1.  Blanch the kale in lightly salted boiling water for about 5 seconds and then plunge it into an bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

2.  In a food processor, chop the garlic and pine nuts. Working in batches, pulse in the kale until it’s finely chopped.

3.  While the food processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil. Mix in the 1/2 cup Parmesan or pecorino and add in a pinch of salt if it needs it, although the cheese will most likely make it salty enough.

4.  Cook the pasta until it’s al dente. Drain it, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot and toss it with the pesto and just enough of the pasta water to loosen the pesto so that it coats the pasta nicely. Stir in some butter for extra creaminess.  Serve immediately with extra grated cheese for sprinkling.

5.  Excess kale pesto will keep nicely in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 3 or 4 days.


  1. Beautiful handmade pasta !

  2. Thanks anonymous! The top and bottom pictures are the store-bought. Wish I got some pictures of the homemade pappardelle covered in the sauce!