One of my favorite ways to use seasonal produce is to make a simple sauce to toss pasta, gnocchi, or tortellini in. The possibilities are endless when you realize that basil isn't the only option when making a pesto-like sauce. Some great options are butternut squash in the fall, maybe even avocado in the summer, and some end-of-winter kale. Also, what better way to celebrate St. Patrick's day than eating something completely green!
This roasted garlic and kale sauce is super flavorful and also becomes the brightest green color from the blanched kale. You'll start by roasting the garlic. I have always had a slight fear of roasted garlic, as I could never understand how even if it was roasted, it could possibly be appropriate to include a *whole* clove, let alone more than one. Ever since I've tried roasting it though, my opinion has totally changed. It takes on a sweeter and milder flavor and I kid you not, you might find yourself just popping in a clove while you're making this.
Next you'll want to blanch your kale. This step is super important, because after you submerge the kale in boiling water you'll notice after a few minutes it will turn the most beautiful and bright green. Once wilted, you'll want to immediately transfer it to a bowl of iced water which will preserve the color.
Then it's as easy as blending your roasted garlic, kale, and a few other ingredients in a food processor or blender. In my opinion, this part is super satisfying and fun. Once you first start blending, it will look a bit more like pesto, but after a minute or two it will come together into this smooth, bright green, sauce. Pour it into a medium to large sized bowl and set aside while you make the tortellini.
Once the tortellini are cooked, save a little pasta water, and drain and immediately transfer the tortellini to the bowl with the kale sauce, and get tossing. Don't be afraid to really stir and get the sauce in all the nooks and crannies of the tortellini. If you need to thin the sauce a bit, you can add some of the reserved pasta water. After you admire your lovely green tortellini, make sure to top with lots of grated parmesan, salt and pepper, and even some fresh lemon zest if you like.
Bright, green, healthy and flavorful, this is the winter to spring recipe you need.
The simplest, healthy, roasted garlic sauce, brightened up with the greenest kale tortellini.
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