Belly of the Beest

Pasta with Pesto, Kale and Green Beans

Dinner, Main Dish, Recipes | 9 August, 2013 | By


It is that time of the summer when basil plants look like tiny shrubs and smell good enough to sit down and eat, leaf by leaf. This is generally frowned upon though, or at least not encouraged so may I suggest this recipe instead? The original called for potatoes too, but we didn’t have potatoes, we had tons and tons of kale, so I went that route instead. I think it would work with just about any greens. It was a pretty simple recipe and don’t skip the toasting of the nuts and the garlic. It has a huge impact on the flavors.


Pasta with Pesto, Kale and Green Beans

Servings 6


  • ¼ Cup pistachios
  • 3 garlic cloves , unpeeled
  • 1-2 pounds of kale
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 12 oz of green beans , cut into 1 ½ inch lengths
  • 2 Cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 oz parmesan cheese , grated (1/2 cup)
  • 7 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound gemelli
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter , cut into ½ inch pieces and chilled
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Toast the nuts and garlic in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until nuts are golden and fragrant and garlic darkens slightly, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and let cool. Peel garlic and chop coarsely.
  2. Steam the kale with salt and pepper until it is tender.
  3. Steam the green beans until tender, 5-8 minutes. Drain the beans and set aside.
  4. Process basil, Parmesan, oil, nuts, garlic, and ½ tsp salt in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.
  5. Boil another pot of water and when it comes to a boil, add gemelli to water and cook until al dente. Set colander in large bowl. Drain gemellit in colander, reserving cooking water in bowl. Return gemelli to pot. Add butter, lemon juice, potatoes and green beans, pesto, 1 ¼ cups reserved cooking water, and ½ tsp pepper and stir vigorously with rubber spatula until sauce takes on creamy appearance. Add additional cooking water as needed to adjust consistency and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
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  1. Tasha
    9 August, 2013

    Looks yummy – I’m going to pass it along to my kale-loving friends!

  2. Martin Seay
    22 August, 2013

    Yep, this seems like a good routine to add to the kale playbook, which at our house is starting to look like a binder stuffed beneath the meaty arm of a mid-1970s offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys.

    A thing that I like to do sometimes with kale that’s destined to get paired up with pasta is chop it as finely and mushily as possible after it has been cooked; you get an interesting texture that way: somewhere between cooked green and pesto . . .

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