Kale and Red Pepper Pesto with Pasta (and a fried egg)

I am new to the world of pesto.  Before I started eating vegetarian meals regularly, I felt that ingredients like olive oil, Parmesan cheese and walnuts were too expensive to stock as part of my regular pantry.  I realize now that I spent a lot of money on meat, and ate a lot of meat.  We have more money now to spend on these basics which make our meals tasty while still quite cheap.  I buy all of these ingredients in bulk at my local Sam’s Club, and use them in small quantities to make many meals.

I make this pesto in the fall when my garden is overflowing with kale (which is extremely! easy to grow.)  I freeze it, and it makes a super easy and quick meal when I am too tired to cook.  The bright yellow of an egg yolk flowing over the green pasta is not only beautiful, it is definitely the finishing touch that makes the meal.  Hope you enjoy it!

Kale and Red Pepper Pesto with Pasta (and a fried egg)

Serves 4-6

For the pesto:

1 bunch kale, washed, torn and tough stems removed

1 large red bell pepper

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup walnuts

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Wash the red bell pepper, cut it in half and remove stem.  Place under hot broiler for 7 to 10 minutes until skin blisters and turns black.  Remove to plate to cool.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put walnuts on cookie sheet and toast in oven for about 8 minutes.  Watch carefully so they toast but do not burn.  Try not to eat all of them before you put them in the pesto — toasted walnuts are wonderful.  They also burn your tongue!

Use blender or food processor to puree all ingredients together to make a thick sauce.

Meanwhile, cook 1 pound of pasta (any shape, I like spaghetti myself) in a large pot of salted boiling water until done according to package directions.  We use whole wheat pasta, and it takes a little longer to  cook.  When the pasta is nearly done, scoop out about 1/2 cup of the cooking water to thin the sauce if necessary, and then drain the pasta.

Toss the hot pasta with the sauce and as much of the cooking water as needed to thoroughly coat the pasta with the sauce.  Set aside while you fry eggs.

Fry one or two eggs in butter to top each serving of pasta.  In a bowl or on a plate, dish a serving of pasta, top with a fried egg, and sprinkle with a little extra Parmesan.

This makes an easy gourmet meal, especially with a side of homemade focaccia bread.

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