When I get home from my Day Job, usually no earlier than 6:00, I generally do not feel like messing around in the kitchen for an hour or more in order to get dinner on the table. The main reason for this is that by the time I get home I am absolutely starving, and it takes immense willpower not to pick up the phone and order takeout. My Better Half helps out quite a lot, but as we’ve divided up household duties, cooking is more or less mainly my “thing.” I’m certainly not complaining. All this means is that I’m becoming adept at tossing together whatever is at hand into something edible. Some experiments are more successful than others.
I created this recipe whilst standing in front of my open fridge, stomach rumbling and wanting something easy but healthy for a weeknight dinner. Kale is all the rage right now and I am fully on board that bandwagon. We happened to have some leftover from the last CSA basket of the season, and roasting it with some almost-too-ripe cherry tomatoes created the perfect base for a pasta dish. The tomatoes burst and ooze and the kale wilts and crisps, taking on a kale chip-like flavour. Throw in some leftover homemade (or store-bought) pesto, lemon zest and goat cheese, and 20 minutes later you have a delicious, healthful meal.
I almost always have pesto in my refrigerator. I unfailingly make too much, and leftovers are stirred into mashed potatoes or quiche, used as pizza sauce, or spread onto sandwiches. I do buy store-bought pesto too, although I tend to get it from specialty markets or gourmet food stores as I find the supermarket brands a wee bit too salty. I like to open the jar and be able to smell fresh basil, and I like to keep the ingredient list to a minimum. Pesto really only needs basil, oil, garlic, cheese and seasoning.
Although we enjoyed this immensely the evening it was made, I must say that I savoured it even more the next day. I packed the leftovers with a handful of baby kale and ate it cold: it made a scrumptious pasta salad.
- 1 lb. whole wheat fusili pasta
- 2-3 large kale leaves, ribs removed, chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 heaping tablespoons pesto (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In 9x13 baking dish, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread kale and tomatoes in an even layer; drizzle with the other tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes; stir, and roast an additional 5 minutes. The tomatoes should be bursting and the kale should be cooked.
- Meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the fusili (or whatever shape you desire) to al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain pasta, return to pot, and toss with pesto and lemon zest.
- In a large serving bowl, toss pasta and tomato/kale mixture. Sprinkle with the goat cheese and serve immediately, with extra pesto on the side if you wish.