Whole Wheat Pasta with Garlicky Kale Pesto


SourceAdapted from Melissa Clark
Prep time30 minutes
Cooking time30 minutes
Total time1 hour


This recipe was inspired by a Melissa Clark column from the New York Times. We have shortened the original considerably by not cooking the kale before turning it into a bright, sharp pesto, perfect with the whole wheat pasta. Adapt the dish to your taste, adding more cheese, garlic or olive oil as you like.


2 cloves
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon
3/4 teaspoon
black pepper
1 bunch
1/2 cup
olive oil
1/2 cup
parmesan cheese
1 pound
whole wheat pasta
sweet potato
1/2 cup


Cook the pasta and the sweet potato in boiling salted water until al dente; drain and reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, place the garlic, walnuts, lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a food processor; pulse to form a thick paste. Working in small batches, add the kale and pulse until finely chopped, using a spatula or spoon to wipe down the sides of the processor bowl as needed.

Slowly add the pasta cooking water to the kale mixture and pulse to combine. With the motor running, drizzle the remaining ½ cup of olive oil into the processor. Add the cheese, starting with ½ cup and taste for seasoning. At this point, you can tweak the flavor by adding more cheese, lemon juice or salt. For a looser pesto, add more olive oil, one tablespoon at a time.

Toss pesto with pasta and sweet potato and serve with grated cheese.