Kale + almond pesto linguine

Kale + almond pesto linguine

A Lot on Her Plate
1 small jar of pesto
Helen Cathcart

A bag of kale can go a long way. It doesn’t wither in the fridge like spinach or broccoli, you can steam it, roast it into wonderfully crisp chips, sauté it in a little bit of olive oil, use it to bulk-out and health-up various soups, stews and salads, and, as I do here, make it into a tasty pesto to slather on linguine. It’s delicious, super-simple to whizz up, economical, and will completely negate any guilt you might feel (you shouldn’t) about eating a big old bowl of pasta...


Quantity Ingredient
3 spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
80g curly kale, stems removed and washed
40g flaked almonds
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for covering the pesto
35g flat-leaf parsley leaves
35g basil leaves
generous pinch red chilli flakes
1/2 unwaxed lemon, zested
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
25g parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
75g linguine, (per person)


  1. Sterilise a jar by putting it through a hot dishwasher cycle or washing it in hot, soapy water, rinsing well and drying it in a hot oven for 10 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the spring onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, until they’re soft. Add the kale and cook for no more than 40 seconds, until it’s bright green and floppy. Don’t overcook it as it will lose that lovely bright green colour.
  3. Lift out the kale with a slotted spoon and put it onto a plate. Lift out the garlic and spring onion (don’t discard the cooking water) and blitz them in a food processor with the almonds. Add the olive oil, parsley, basil, chilli flakes and blitz again. Squeeze the excess water out of the kale and add it to the food processor too, blitzing, followed by the lemon juice and zest, and Parmesan. Season with black pepper and salt to taste, and stir. Store the pesto in the sterilised jar, covering it with a layer of olive oil to seal in the freshness.
  4. Cook the linguine in the same water that you blanched the kale in for about 6–7 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, reserving a splash of the pasta water, return to the pan and stir in generous tablespoons of the pesto and the reserved pasta water, and season with freshly ground black pepper and more Parmesan.
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