Pasta in our house is an absolute staple and we certainly have our favourites. However I have to continuously come up with new ideas to share with you guys and that is a challenge that I relish. I thought it was time to use a different style of pasta as I am a lover of slippery spaghetti or linguine strands and I have to say this Casarecce was a delight! The little tubes that clung on to every morsel of the rich Kale and Walnut Pesto were deceptively filling and equally satisfying. Topped with thin slivers of chargrilled Zucchini and a smattering of Goat’s Fetta, this was really yum. Perfect vegetarian fare, super easy and deliciously healthy.
Prep time: 30 Minutes Cooking time: 20 Minutes $$ Medium Budget
500gm of Casarecce pasta (you may use whatever pasta you prefer)
1/2 a bunch of Kale, leaves removed and stalks discarded (or put aside for another use)
1/2 a bunch of basil, stalks discarded
2 garlic cloves
2/3 cup of toasted walnuts (1/3 set aside for garnish)
1/2 tsp of chilli flakes (optional)
1/2 cup of sundries tomato strips
1/2 cup of grated parmesan
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of reserved pasta water
Sea salt & cracked pepper
2 large zucchini’s, sliced with a vegetable peeler into long thin strips
100gm of crumbled Goat’s fetta
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Blanch the kale leaves in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and run under a cold water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, squeeze out any excess water with your hands and roughly chop. Make sure the pot of water is still boiling and add the Casarecce. Cook the pasta for approximately 12 minutes or until al dente`. Once cooked, drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
While the pasta is cooking place the kale, basil, garlic, chilli flakes, sundries tomato strips, half the walnuts and parmesan cheese into a food processor and season well with salt and pepper. Squeeze in the lemon juice and turn on the processor. Add the olive oil in a nice steady stream until you have a nice pasty, pesto consistency.
Heat a griddle pan to nice and hot. Cook the slivers of zucchini on both sides, in batches until nice and charred. It doesn’t take long if your pan is hot and there is no need to add oil. The natural sugars in the zucchini will ensure a nice charred finish. Remove from the pan and place on a plate, drizzle over a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil to keep warm.
Add 3-4 tablespoons of the pesto to the drained pasta over heat and pour in the pasta water. The starchy water will help to make a sauce that will coat the pasta really well. Any leftover pesto will keep in the fridge for about 5 days or can be frozen for another meal.
Divide the pasta between 4 serving bowls and top with the slivers of zucchini. Sprinkle over the Goat’s fetta and remaining walnuts and finish with a nice drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.