Genoa lays claim to being the origin of pesto, which means to pound or crush. Pesto was traditionally made by creaming fresh garlic and pine nuts with a wooden pestle in a marble bowl (mortar), then pounding in fresh basil leaves with coarse salt. Depending on what community you lived in, parmesan, pecorino cheese or a blend of the two was added last using a little olive oil to help blend the cheese.
I tried it this way once. Okay, I tried it twice just to convince myself I was not a pesto wimp. I am a pesto wimp and not a pesto purist. I like my food processor.
Kale lends itself very deliciously to pesto.
You can choose to blanch the leaves or not. Blanching the leaves for 5 seconds removes the bitterness. It does create the extra step of draining and drying in a towel. Raw leaves maintain all their kale flavor. Either way, kale pesto does not oxidize and turn brown.
- 3 cups packed kale (any kind, including mixed), you may want to remove the bigger stems
- 2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup toasted nuts of your choice
- 2 – 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
- Salt (optional)- see note
- In processor , pulse kale until finely chopped
- With motor running, drizzle in olive oil
- scrape down sides
- Add nuts and cheese
- Scrape sides and blend until as smooth as you like.
- Add salt to taste
I use Pecorino Romano because I like the dry, saltiness. If you use Pecorino, you may not need to add salt.