Spring Kale Pesto and Sausage Pappardalle 

Let’s talk about fresh pasta. It’s intimidating, I know, but when you get it right, it literally MAKES the meal. And call this blasphemous if you want, but I refuse to do the whole pile-of-flour-on-the-counter-crack-the-eggs-into-little-wells-and-knead-by-hand thing because… ain’t nobody got time for that. Bust out the food processor!

Another thing that nobody has time for – the grocery store. So J issued the #RefrigeratorChallenge. The rule is that you have to make a REALLY good meal using only what you already have in the refrigerator and freezer at home – NO additional grocery shopping. This might seem like a normal day for most people, but for me, it’s a struggle! I’m always coming up with new ideas for things I’d like to cook, and I always need ingredients that are not usually kept on hand. Plus, J wants me to clean all of my random odds and ends out of the kitchen more often, so here goes! I’d say this challenge worked out fantastically.

Now, kielbasa, which is smoked Polish sausage, was the weirdest ingredient I chose to use here, and you can substitute Italian sausage if you’d like – but I dare you to make it exactly as my recipe dictates! Somehow the smokiness of the kielbasa really plays well with this robust pesto, and both are nicely contrasted by the sweet but sharp roasted shallots. Try it, trust me! (or just use whatever’s in YOUR fridge)

Flour, eggs, salt, water, olive oil…. on the road to fresh pasta land!

It may not look like it, but this WILL come together! Pasta dough can be temperamental, so you’ll have to play with the amounts of olive oil and water you drizzle in until the dough forms.

Once you have a rough dough formed in the processor, then you must knead it a little until smooth. This is where I bring J in because he’s just better at this part.

While your dough is resting, you make this rebel pesto! Why is it rebellious? Because it isn’t basil-based and it doesn’t include any pine nuts (which are WAY too expensive anyway!). Nope. I used kale, almonds, and cashews this time, and it was robust and delicious!

Pesto secret: don’t add the grated cheese until just before serving. Certainly never EVER add the grated cheese to the food processor when making pesto – you’ll pulverize all of the flavor out of that Parm!

Throw that pesto in the fridge to chill, and then roll out your rested pasta dough. The pasta maker is your friend. Using just a rolling pin will never get you that perfectly almost-translucent pasta that’s so thin it melts in your mouth.

See??

While you’re working with your pasta machine, keep your rolled out sheets of pasta nice and floured.

The words #FlourBae might’ve been uttered at this juncture… and not by me… 😀 By the way, #FlourBae used a pizza cutter to slice those lovely ribbons of papardelle!

Then we make a meat mixture. Chopped sausage and mushrooms get sauteed first.

You’ll eventually add some peas for extra color if someone FORCES you to.

Add in the fresh pasta and heat it through.

Make sure you remove the pan from the heat before adding the pesto! Otherwise, the oil in the pesto will separate and you will have a big mess on your hands! Garnish with shallots and lots of cheese!

#RefrigeratorChallenge conquered!

Spring Kale Pesto and Sausage Papardalle 

Serves 3-4.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)

3 eggs

1 tsp salt

1/2-1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup water

3 cups Kale

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 cup cashews

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (plus extra for garnish)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb kielbasa sausage (may substitute Italian sausage), removed from casing and diced

10 oz white mushrooms, diced

1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed

2 large shallots, sliced into wedges

1/2 tbs balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the shallot wedges into a small pouch of foil, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, wrap up the pouch, and roast for one hour. Set aside.
  2. Add flour and salt into the food processor and pulse a few times. Add the eggs on top of the flour mixture and pulse for about 2 minutes. Add water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing intermittently, until mixture forms a dough. (can add a drizzle of olive oil as well to help with cohesiveness)
  3. Knead dough on a floured counter until smooth, shape into a ball, and wrap in plastic to rest for at least 30 minutes. Clean the food processor.
  4. To make the pasta, dust a clean, dry counter with flour. Divide the dough into four sections. Working with one section at a time, roll the section of dough out with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Dust the dough with flour. Pass the dough through the pasta maker’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th settings (twice through each setting) to flatten the dough into a thin sheet (adjust for desired thickness, but thin pappardelle is the best!). Lay the dough out on a counter or cutting board, and cut it into 1-inch wide ribbons (pappardelle). Sprinkle the pasta with flour to keep from sticking. Repeat the process with the other three sections of dough, working quickly to prevent the pasta from drying out.
  5. To make the pesto, put the kale, almonds, and cashews in the food processor, and pulse until thoroughly combined. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until the mixture reaches desired consistency (smooth and rich). Store in refrigerator.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the fresh pasta for 3-4 minutes, drain, and set aside.
  7. Meanwhile, remove the pesto base from the refrigerator, add the grated cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Heat a tbs of olive oil in a large saute pan, add the garlic, and saute until fragrant. Add the sausage and mushrooms, cook until tender. Add the peas, cook for one more minute. Add the pasta,  toss to combine, and remove the pan from the heat.
  9. Add the pesto to the pan, and stir to combine. Serve the pasta with the roasted balsamic shallots on top and more freshly grated Parmesan.

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