When food writer Diana Henry had a change of appetite, and began craving less meat and heavy food, and more vegetable-, fish- and grain-based dishes, these are the dishes she served. Often inspired by the food of the Middle East and Far East, but also drawing on cuisines from Georgia to Scandinavia, the recipes in A Change of Appetite (Mitchell Beazley, 2014) are nothing less than fabulous. This Kale Pesto With Linguine Recipe is from the section “Winter.”
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Yes, I know. This sounds really holier than thou. But it isn’t. In fact, I prefer it to basil pesto (which I’ve always found a bit perfumed and slightly cloying). If you’re not the biggest fan of kale, this is the way to eat it; it’s seasoned and enriched. You can also make this with cavolo nero or black kale in exactly the same way. I find whole-wheat pasta a tough one. I can barely eat the shapes, they just seem chewy and punishing. But linguine and spaghetti are a different matter.
Toss steamed broccoli into this (yes, I mean it!) for a double dose of greens.
• 1 lb whole wheat linguine
• sea salt
• 12 oz kale (about 4 cups leaves once you've removed the tough stems)
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley
• 2 good-quality anchovies, drained of oil
• 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
• 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino
• really good pinch of dried red pepper flakes (optional)
1. Put the linguine into a large saucepan of boiling slightly salted water and boil according to the package directions until it is cooked but still al dente.
2. At the same time, make the pesto. Wash the kale well and strip the fibrous leaves from their stems. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, plunge the leaves in, and cook for five minutes. Drain well. Put the cooked kale into a food processor with the butter, extra virgin oil, parsley, anchovies, garlic, and ½ cup of the cheese. Add the red pepper flakes (if using). Process, using the pulse-blend button. I like this pesto when it isn’t completely pureed but still has quite large flecks in it, so don’t overdo it.
3. Taste, adding the rest of the cheese if you want. To be honest, I don’t need any extra; it has a great rich strong taste without it. But you decide.
4. Drain the linguine, then return it to the pan with a little of its cooking water. Mix in the pesto and serve immediately.
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This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from A Change of Appetite: Where Healthy Meets Delicious by Diana Henry and published by Mitchell Beazley, 2014. Purchase this book from our store: A Change of Appetite.