A Very Special Pesto

Last week, I had my mom and sister over for an impromptu dinner. It happened by chance that I was trying a new pesto recipe out that evening. I also was gifted some very delicious peppers from Monica. Monica grows peppers every summer, and is nice enough to share her peppers with me. Come to think of it, Monica’s peppers are probably the reason this impromptu dinner came about. As soon as I mentioned to my mom and my sister that I was cooking up some peppers, they both responded with, “MMMmmmmm.” The pesto I was making was a little different than I am used to in that it replaces the basil with kale. A little background on my mom, she is 50% Italian blood, but 100% Italian heart; and there was no way kale pesto would even fly with her. Soooo….I decided to make the kale pesto on the down low. I’m very sneaky like that.

They arrived and we ate prosciutto with cantaloupe, and chit chatted about the days events. I had the pasta on the stove cooking, and asked them to taste test the pesto for seasoning. My sister and mom agreed that all was good, and no salt or pepper needed to be added. I thought to myself, “ok they didn’t notice anything.” I tasted it and I couldn’t tell it was kale either. In effort not to waste an entire pound of pasta, I thought I should run another test by them, this one with sight. I showed them the picture of the ingredients below, neither my sister or my mom picked up on the fact that there is a huge pile of kale in the picture! I am trying to contain my laughter at this point, and thinking how clever I am that I have fooled them so far.

The pasta is done, and I toss a good amount of pesto into the pasta, add some reserved pasta water, turn the heat on high and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce or pesto. If you have never cooked your pasta in the sauce, you must try it!! It’s so easy, just reserve about a cup of the cooking water. Cook your pasta al dente or to your taste. Drain the pasta, add your sauce to the hot pot and turn the heat up to high, as high as it goes. We are going all in here people! Then add your pasta to the hot sauce and stir, stir, stir! Add the cooking water as needed, you don’t want the pasta and sauce to start sticking. Keep the bottom of the pan wet but not too watery…your looking for a creamy, shiny sauce that is just dreamy. Your pasta is so happy and you will be too! Take it off the heat, only cook on high for 1 – 2 minutes.

The pasta and peppers are done, and we sit with our plates to enjoy our meal together. We were a few bites in when I decided to announce that there was something special about the pesto. My mom had a huge mouthful of pasta at this point, but she still managed to utter a very suspicious “WHAT?” My laughter is no longer containable at this point, and soon they join in with me on the laughter. I tell them that I tried showing them the special ingredient in the picture, but neither of them noticed. They asked to see the picture again, and now they see the pile of kale. Kale Yeah!!! We all mutually agreed that the pesto was very good, and would not have been able to tell the difference of a basil pesto vs. kale pesto. Thumbs up for this kale pesto recipe. I also froze the remaining pesto and used it again today….it froze and defrosted wonderfully. I’ll definitely make this one again!

Thank you, Monica, for the peppers.