A great way to use stems from kale, collard greens, swiss chard, basil, parsley, mint and other greens and herbs.
- Stems. They might come from kale, chard, cilantro, basil, mint or a combination of sources.
- Garlic. One pod.
- Roasted nuts (optional). I like to use roasted walnuts. Or, you can keep the nuts out of the pesto and sprinkle them on the pasta when you’re done.
- Cheese. You can put cheese in the pesto or apply it separately. Here, I topped with goat cheese, so added it separately, but a nice parm would be delicious in the pesto itself.
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Pasta. Any size, shape or color.
- Cheese. For topping (I used goat cheese in the picture here; a gruyere or parmesan would be delicious too)
- Roasted nuts. For topping. I like roasted walnuts.
- Veggies. whatever you have that sounds good! Tomatoes? Corn? Sauteed pepper? Peas?
- If using nuts, roast them. I roast walnuts or pecans in the oven at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes. Check and stir frequently to avoid burning. Sliced almonds tend to burn quickly in the oven, so I toast those on the stove top, stirring often.
- Blanch hardier stems (i.e. kale and chard) first. To do this, add the stems to boiling water, wait for the water to return to a boil and then leave them in the water for about 2 minutes. Blanching should be done for kale and chard, but not softer stems like cilantro, basil or mint.
- Roughly chop the stems and the garlic (only into pieces small enough to facilitate easier blending).
- Combine garlic, stems, salt, pepper, nuts (if using), cheese (if using), and a medium pour of olive oil in a food processor.
- Blend until smooth, adding oil, salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve over pasta and veggies, sprinkle with nuts and cheese if they aren’t already in the pesto itself.