plus 2 tablespoons walnuts
bunch kale, thick stems discarded and leaves torn (about 12 cups)
cup grated pecorino (2 ounces), plus more for serving
small clove garlic
kosher salt and black pepper
fusilli, penne, or some other short pasta
- Heat oven to 350° F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes; let cool. Chop 2 tablespoons of the walnuts and set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the kale and cook until bright green, 30 seconds. Transfer the kale to a colander (reserve the cooking water); squeeze dry when cool enough to handle.
- In a food processor, combine the kale, pecorino, garlic, the remaining ⅓ cup of unchopped walnuts, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Process until finely chopped. With the machine running, add the oil through the feed tube in a steady stream.
- Bring the reserved cooking water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the pesto and ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water and toss to coat (add more cooking water if the pasta seems dry). Serve the pasta sprinkled with the pecorino and chopped walnuts.