Orecchiette with kale, pea and walnut pesto

Recipe of the Week

Seasonal Produce: Kale

Disclaimer – this is only the second time that I’ve ever made pasta, so I don’t profess to be a pasta professional! This type of pasta is however very easy to make once you get the hang of it, and there’s something quite relaxing about sitting down to make the little ear-shaped pasta.

The pesto tastes incredibly light and vibrant, and will also go fantastically well with some fresh fish or roasted vegetables. This recipe will leave you with plenty left over to either use over the next few days or to squirrel away in the freezer for a rainy day.

Orecchiette originates from the sunny southern province of Puglia, Italy, and it’s name means ‘little ears’ in Italian. The cup-shaped pasta is perfect to catch chunky sauces as well, so don’t just limit yourself to this recipe!

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Ingredients

250g Semolina flour
125g 00 flour
160g frozen petit pois
125g Kale, remove any thick stems
10g Walnut halves, toasted and roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp granted parmigiano
2 tbsp olive oil
1tbsp chilli flakes
1 small lemon

Method

To make the orecchiette;

Mix the two flours together in a large bowl and add about 250ml of warm water, or just enough to make a dough. Knead it for about 10 minutes and then roll into a ball, wrap in cling film and pop into the fridge to chill for about an hour.

Once you’re ready to use, dust your table with semolina flour, remove the fridge from the dough and cut off a small strip. Using your hands, roll this into a long, thin sausage – about 1cm in diameter.

Lay the dough out and cut into pellets at about 1cm intervals – they should now start to look like cute little pillows. There are now two techniques that you can try to get these pillows looking like little mouse ears – either stand the pellet on it’s end and squash down gently using your thumb, rolling it slightly to create an ear shape. Alternatively, applying quite a bit of pressure, push down and roll a spoon across the pellet and it should curl slightly – into a little ear.

To cook your pasta, put in a pan and fill with boiling water and add the orecchiette. If you’re cooking within two hours of making the pasta, it will only take about 2-3 minutes to cook. If you’ve left them for longer then they can take up to 5-6 minutes. Easy answer is once they float – they’re done!

For the pesto;

At the same time, pop the peas into a bowl of boiling water and set aside. At the same time, blanch the kale in boiling water for a minute before draining both and rinsing in cold water. You’ll need to make sure that the kale especially is as dry as possible, so dry with a tea towel.

Put the kale, peas, basil and a good pinch of salt into the food processor and whizz until roughly chopped. Next add the walnuts, garlic and Parmesan and whizz, gradually drizzling in the oil.

Once your pasta is cooked, stir through with 1tbsp of the pesto adding lemon juice to taste and some of the leftover pasta water if required, to create a silky texture. Serve with extra grated Parmesan.

Buon Appetito!

 

 

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