Cauliflower Pesto Pasta with White Beans & Kale

We don’t do a ton of pasta around these parts, mostly because I hate cooking lunch so we generally like to have enough for leftovers for the 3 of us, and a pound of pasta doesn’t usually cut it.  But I loved this recipe because it’s fresh and light but hearty enough for all of us for dinner and lunch.  And it keeps well.  And it comes together in under 30 minutes. And it makes use of Virginia winter-season vegetables so I don’t have to battle pangs of guilt while buying eggplant at Trader Joe’s.Fresh, hearty, quick, good leftovers, and uses a winter pesto? I’d say that’s a winner on all counts.
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Cauliflower Pesto Pasta with White Beans & Kale

adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

1 medium head of cauliflower
1 clove garlic
Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 almonds
2 ounce chunk of Parmesan cheese
2-3 T fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Coarse sea salt

1.5-2 cups fresh kale
1-1.5 cups white beans (I cooked great northern in my pressure cooker ahead of time and had them in the freezer, but you can also use a can of cannellini)

1 pound whole wheat pasta

  1. While pasta is cooking, trim leaves off cauliflower and cut into large chunks.  Pulse in food processor until it looks like bits of couscous.  (I did this part in my little mini food processor, and just did about a quarter of the cauliflower at a time.)  Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl.
  2. Pulse the garlic, pepper flakes, almonds, cheese, and cilantro in a food processor until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs.  Combine mixture with the cauliflower.  Add oil, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, adding more as needed (I probably used about a teaspoon of salt).
  3. Wash and de-stem the kale and cut into chiffonades (thin little strips).  If using canned beans, rinse and drain.
  4. Boil water and cook the pasta until al dente.  Reserve 1 cup of cooking water and drain off the rest.  Toss the hot pasta with the cauliflower pesto and about 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water, adding more as needed.  Mix in the kale and beans.  Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.


One Response

  • I looked at the title and thought that it was a Smitten Kitchen recipe! Good to know I was right 🙂

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