Kale and Walnut Pesto over Spaghetti Squash
Where most wines would stumble against the vegetal flavors in this recipe, Grüner Veltliner typically proves up to the task. Hailing predominantly from Austria, this dry crisp white is known for its citrus, celery, and white pepper notes.
If you want to access kale’s nutrients but are tired of serving this leafy green sautéed, try it as a vibrant base for pesto. Since autumn concludes the season for summer-fresh basil and marks the advent of fall squash, now is the perfect time to try this earthy, nutty vegetarian-friendly dish. And for the allergic, the pesto can be made sans walnuts.
Serves 2-3; Total time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
1 Spaghetti squash, sliced in half, seeds scraped out (a 3lb squash gives around 4 cups cooked)
1 medium bunch kale, stems and center ribs removed
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup walnuts, plus more for garnish
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil plus 1 tablespoon (for squash)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt plus more for seasoning
Pepper, for seasoning
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 5-6 minutes, until fragrant, tossing occasionally. Chop and set aside.
2. Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees. Rub flesh of squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a lined baking sheet and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until a fork easily punctures the flesh. Remove from oven and let the squash cool, about 30 minutes.
3. While squash is cooking, boil water in a large pot and season with salt. Blanch kale for about 1 minute. Drain in colander. When cool, squeeze excess water from kale (to avoid a runny pesto.)
4. Combine kale, cheese, 1/4 cup walnuts, garlic, and salt in a food processor until finely chopped. With motor running, add olive oil in a steady stream, then lemon juice, and process into a coarse purée. Season with pepper and set aside.
5. Once squash is cool enough to handle, scrape flesh out and divide between bowls. Spoon pesto over the top. Drizzle with good olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a few crushed walnuts over top and serve.