Spaghetti With Kale and Walnut Pesto

Serves 4.

Note: Toasting the walnuts brings out their flavor and makes them crunchier. To do so, preheat oven to 350 degrees, arrange walnuts on baking sheet in single layer, and bake until lightly toasted and fragrant, 6 to 10 minutes. From “Once Upon a Chef,” by Jennifer Segal.

• 1 lb. spaghetti

• 2 c. packed, torn kale leaves, stems removed

• 1 c. tightly packed fresh basil leaves

• 1 tsp. salt, plus more for boiling with the pasta

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 1/4 tsp. sugar

• 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1/3 c. plus 1/2 c. walnuts, toasted if desired, divided (see Note)

• 2 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped

• 1/2 c. plus 1/3 c. grated pecorino Romano cheese, divided


Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add the spaghetti and boil until al dente, about 10 minutes, or according to package instructions, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.

Meanwhile, make the pesto: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the kale and basil; process until finely chopped. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, olive oil, 1/3 cup walnuts, garlic and 1/2 cup pecorino cheese. Pulse until smooth.

Drain the spaghetti in a colander. Add the spaghetti back to the pot and toss with the pesto and 1/2 cup of the cooking water. If the pasta seems dry, add more of the water. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, then serve topped with the remaining 1/3 cup cheese and remaining 1/2 cup walnuts.