Rigatoni with Pesto and Kale Chips

rigatoni with kale pesto
Amy Neunsinger Copyright © 2016
  • Yield: 4 servings


2bunches Tuscan kale, washed, dried, and ribs removed
1/2cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1pound rigatoni
2medium garlic cloves, sliced
1cup fresh basil leaves
1/2cup finely grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, plus extra for serving
1/2cup walnuts or pine nuts
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Adjust one oven rack to the upper-middle position and the other to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Roughly tear half of the kale into bite-size pieces and add them to a large bowl. Toss with 11/2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. On 2 baking sheets, arrange the pieces of kale in a single layer, with the leaves overlapping as little as possible, so they don’t steam. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until the leaves are crisp, switching the pans from top to bottom and vice versa after 5 minutes and shaking the pans to loosen and redistribute the leaves. Set the kale aside to cool on the baking sheets.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the rigatoni and cook it 1 minute less than the package instructs. Reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 11/2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the remaining kale and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and toss to distribute. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and the greens are wilted, another 1 to 3 minutes. (This process works perfectly with spinach, chard, escarole, or any other green you’d like to use up.)
  5. In a food processor, combine the basil, Romano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste and process until well combined. Add the sautéed kale and the walnuts and pulse while drizzling in the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil until the texture is smooth. Add a spoon or two of pasta water to loosen the mixture if needed.
  6. Toss the pasta with the kale pesto. Serve sprinkled with kale chips and more Romano.


the-happy-cookFrom The Happy Cook by Daphne Oz. Copyright © 2016 by Daphne Oz. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.