The local Greenhouse (basically two huge glasshouses, a large outdoor garden and a heated wooden ‘herb house’ run by THE most lovely couple in Norman Wells) recently opened its doors to vegetable-seeking customers. I have already visited the Greenhouse numerous times to collect plants, soil and gardening advice. This time round however, I was able to scour their huge range of bushy plants, vegetables hanging heavily waiting to be picked, that lined the walls and aisles of the massive, humid glasshouses.
Much gardening advice later, I cycled home, produce clutched tightly under the arm, with this stupid grin on my face – oh it is so satisfying to be sourcing fresh, local vegetables from my neighborhood! One can put up with bruised bananas, brown-edged lettuce, furry blueberries and pale tomatoes, imported from afar, for so long. Hey don’t go thinking I’m complaining or anything – it just makes me appreciate freshness all the more!
Along with my chosen produce of capsicums, courgettes and cucumbers, Monica pushed a huge pile of kale into my hands, “no charge m’dear, it weighs next to nothing!” Well I certainly was not going to turn down free kale!
And with it I made pesto. Simplicity = the ultimate sophistication.
Kale Pesto Pasta
Somewhat inspired by TwoSpoons
200g pasta (I used orecchiette)
a large handful of kale leaves
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed, not chopped
about 50ml olive oil
chilli powder (or finely diced red chilli)
about 25g Parmesan, finely grated, divided
Cook pasta according to packet instructions.
Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Cook kale leaves until softened (about 5-8 minutes). Drain the cooking water, reserving about one cup for the sauce later, lightly squeeze kale to remove excess liquid, and roughly chop. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in the same frypan on medium heat and cook the garlic and chilli until fragrant. Add the kale and cook in an even layer until the greens are coated in oil.
Put aside half the kale. Transfer the remaining kale along with the chilli and garlic into the food processor. Puree with some of the cooking water (or as desired), Parmesan and remaining olive oil, until smooth. Serve over drained, cooked pasta, topped with remaining kale leaves and grated Parmesan.
This was the perfect post-workout meal – with a soft boiled egg on the side for protein. We enjoyed it the next day with chickpeas as the source of protein instead. I have heard that adding soft tofu while pureeing the pesto is pretty darn good too.