Penne with Kale Pesto, Tomatoes and Scallops

No, I didn’t spend a fortune on this meal.  In fact, it was super cheap because:

1. I made the pesto myself with ingredients I either grew or had given to me.

2. The scallops were in the clearance section at the grocery store.

3. The cherry tomatoes were $5 for a huge container and I used maybe $1 worth.

So what’s this about kale pesto? Crazy, I know.  Who puts kale in pesto? Well, I do and my friend Richie, who gave me the pesto, does too! It’s indistinguishable once the strong flavors of garlic and basil get added.  It’s really a great way to use less basil, which we all know can be pricey if you have to buy it (and my basil plant is slowly slowly growing, so I didn’t want to take off too many leaves).

For the Kale Pesto:

*Get your pasta water going.  I cooked a whole pound but probably only used half.

2 cups of shredded kale, just torn off the stem and washed

1 cup loosely packed basil

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 scallion, roughly chopped

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

salt, pepper, olive oil

Stuff about half the kale and the basil in your food processor and gently pulse until it breaks down enough to add the rest of the kale.  Pulse a bit more, then add the garlic  and scallion.  Pulse until everything is blended.  Don’t just hit the puree button and let it rip yet because the more basil breaks down the more likely it is to turn brown.  It’ll look sort of like this:


Next, add a big pinch of salt and sprinkle in some pepper.  Put the lid on and remove the little side part/pusher thing so that you can stream in some olive oil.  Now hit the puree button.  Stream in about 1/4 cup and see if it’s the consistency you want.  I like mine about the consistency of cornbread batter…just slightly thicker than cake batter…You should be able to stir it; it should be smooth.


Set this aside.

For the scallops and tomatoes

1 cup grape tomatoes, whole

1 small package of scallops (these weren’t the huge ones, though if you have those you can use them, just cut them in fourths.

Wash your tomatoes and get a skillet hot over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil and add your tomatoes whole.  Let them sit for a few minutes until they start to sizzle and get brown on the bottom. Flip them around, let them sizzle for a bit until they get soft and start to split.  Then add the scallops.  Cook for THREE minutes and then remove the pan from the heat and just let it sit.  The scallops will continue cooking for a bit from the residual heat.  Sprinkle in some Italian seasoning, but no salt.


When the pasta is ready, combine about half of it in the pan with the tomatoes and scallops and then mix in your pesto.  Taste and if it needs any extra salt or pepper, add it now.  Garnish with extra Parmesan and some red pepper flakes if you want.  This would work great with whatever was on sale…a nice piece of salmon grilled and flaked into the pasta or shrimp would be great!



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