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A recipe invented by Melissa Clark for her husband the day before he ran the New York City marathon. This is a real pretty and healthful dish for those interested in loading up on carbs before a race, or just eating well. Great as a one-dish meal for vegetarians. Modified a bit for my tastes. You might want to steam the kale instead of boil it, as I heard it removes some bitterness. From a November issue of the New York Times.
- 1 1⁄2 lbs butternut squash
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
- 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt, more for squash
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 lb kale (l small bunch, center ribs removed)
- 8 ounces pasta (penne regate works well)
- 1⁄3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon (finely grated zest of)
- lemon juice (freshly squeezed, to taste)
- 1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (or more)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use a vegetable peeler to peel sqash, halve it lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Dice into 1-inch pieces, toss with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet in even layer with space between them. Roast, stirring once or twice, until golden brown and tender, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop kale into boiling water and cook for 45 seconds. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer to ice water. Bring water back to a boil, adding more if necessary so there is enough to cook pasta.
- Drain kale well and wrap in a paper towels and squeeze thoroughly to remove excess moisture. Roughly chop leaves. When water returns to a boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions.
- In a food processor or blender, pulse together kale, nuts, garlic, salt and lemon zest until smooth and salt has dissolved. With motor running, slowly drizzle in remaining oil until fully incorporated. Add more salt and lemon juice, if necessary.
- Drain pasta and reserve a little cooking water. Toss pasta with kale pesto and some pasta cooking water. Add cheese, lemon juice and salt to taste. Serve topped with squash and more cheese.
The pesto is good, the combination with the roasted butternut was unappealing to me. We had some fresh basil that needed to be used, so we threw that into the pesto. Be sure to taste the pesto, as it takes quite a bit of seasoning. We plan to use the leftover pesto itself on some pasta or potatoes soon, but will not combine it with the winter squash again.