SUBMITTED BY CHEF TOM FOSNOT OF GIBBET HILL GRILL, GROTON
PHOTO BY MICHAEL PIAZZA / STYLED BY CATRINE KELTY
In my last job, I was chef at Rocca in the South End where we served the cuisine of Liguria in Northern Italy, famous for its pesto in many different incarnations. When I arrived at Gibbet Hill and saw that during the warm days and cool nights of the fall Farmer Molly harvests almost 100 pounds of kale each week, I began to wonder how to use it all. Once I discovered the abundant parsley and basil growing in the hoop houses and herb boxes, the idea of blending the kale into a pesto just came to me. It is a great accompaniment to a fall minestrone (also from Liguria) made with squash, leeks, turnips and potatoes. It could be used as a spread on a roast pork, pickled pepper, and smoked provolone sandwich. It would do well stirred into fresh pasta with sausage and roasted tomatoes, or tossed with roasted potatoes as a side dish for roast pork or beef. The kale holds up well to strong flavors, so it works well with a variety of cold weather dishes.
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup toasted pine nuts, optional
2 cups kale, blanched and chopped
2 cups packed basil leaves
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
½ cup Pecorino Romano, grated
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
In a food processor combine garlic and ½ teaspoon salt. Run the machine until garlic is finely minced. If using pine nuts, add them and run the machine until you get a paste. Add kale, one cup at a time, and run the machine until finely chopped. Add basil the same way, then add the cheese and run the machine until incorporated, then add the olive oil in a drizzle while the motor is running. Taste and season with the remaining salt if needed.