Kale & Basil Pesto

Another delicious recipe from Nicky at The Little Cooking Company.  She told me she was inspired to create this little gem by a wonderful Kale & Taleggio bruschette she had at Polpo in Soho recently!

I tried this recipe on my my two little ‘L’s’ with pasta and they loved it.  I also made the family this quick, simple, homemade minestrone soup from BBC Good Food and topped it with Nicky’s pesto too – yum!


Kale & Basil Pesto – serves 4  


½ bag of prewashed kale

1 handful of freshly picked basil leaves, removed from the stalk (about 1 bunch)

1 handful of lightly toasted pine nuts (about 30g)

1 generous handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 30g)

½ – 1 clove of garlic

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)

Start by blanching the kale in a pan of boiling water for 2 mins. Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice cold water to halt the cooking process and retain the lovely bright green colour. Wrapping the cooked kale in kitchen roll, squeeze as much water as possible out of the leaves and discard any thick stalks.

Place the kale, basil, garlic (start with half a clove – you can add but not take away!) and a pinch of salt in a food processor (mini choppers are good for this!), and pulse together until they form a paste.

Now add the pine nuts and pulse again until the mixture is fairly smooth. Scrape out the pesto into a bowl and stir in about half of the grated Parmesan and begin to add the extra virgin olive oil. Continue to add the remaining cheese along with more oil until the pesto reaches the consistency and taste that you are after. Pesto is a personal thing….some people like more garlic, some people like to add a squeeze of lemon juice, sometimes it needs a little more salt. Keep tasting until you are happy with the flavour and consistency.


Pesto has so many uses, here are a few:

–       With pasta (add cooked green beans and cubed, cooked potato for the Ligurian dish Pasta Alla Genovese)

–       Drizzled over a pizza

–       Served alongside a juicy roast chicken

–       Pooled beside a loin of roasted cod or haddock

–       Stirred into risotto bianco

–       As a tapenade for bruschetta or in a roasted vegetable ciabatta sandwich

–       Tossed with baby new potatoes and garden peas and served at a BBQ

–       Swirled into vegetable soup – Pistou styleIMG_1737