Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A solution for kale

Despite all of my hype about the start of my co-op, I failed to blog about my first pick-up almost two weeks ago. But the first pick-up isn't super exciting. I did get my Bibb lettuce, and I've enjoyed great salads with it.

I also got collards and kale, which I have been avoiding. I had great leftovers from Easter and didn't have to worry about lunch and dinner last week. But I was inspired on Monday when I found the site, Big Girls Small Kitchen, and I could search by ingredient. I found a recipe for Kale Pesto Lasagna, had most of the ingredients and thought I'd try it out Monday after work. This of course resulted in me eating dinner about 10 p.m., but it was a successful dinner otherwise and is feeding me for the week.

I will note that lasagna is on my picky list, I really don't like ricotta cheese, and I feel like a lot of weird stuff is hidden in it. But this is not really lasagna at all, and I controlled what went in it.

The recipe called for fresh mozzarella, which I think would make it better, but the shredded mozzarella was good enough. I put it in an 8x8 dish, but pretty much used what was called for in the recipe. I also realized the next morning I could have put the pesto on a pizza, and I might make another batch (I still have kale left) and do that.

Kale Pesto Lasagna by Big Girls Small Kitchen

  • 1 box no-boil lasagna
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, stems trimmed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces.
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup walnut halves
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • pinch of cayenne
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1 9 x 13” pan

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of water to the boil.
Put the walnuts in the oven on a baking sheet. Toast them for 5 minutes, just until fragrant. Set aside.
Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the boiling water, then add the kale. Stir to submerge all the kale. Cover the pot and boil for 8 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Put the cooked kale, walnuts, ½ cup Parmesan, garlic, cayenne, and ½ teaspoon salt in the food processor (you may have to do this in more than one batch). Process until finely ground, then add the olive oil and process until smooth and the consistency of mayonnaise. Add the lemon juice, then taste for salt, adding more as necessary.
Smear ½ cup of the kale mixture on the bottom of the pan. Cover it with noodles, breaking them to fit if you need to. Cover the pasta with ¼ cup of kale, then with a sparse layer of mozzarella. Repeat twice more, arranging the top layer of mozzarella especially beautifully. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan, cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, press in any exposed pasta edges, and bake for 15 more minutes until bubbly and brown. Rest 5-10 minutes, then serve.

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