Test Kitchen

Pasta with kale Pesto & Olives


4 Servings:

For the Pesto:
• 1/2 cup walnut halves
• 1 clove garlic
• 3 cups baby kale
• 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1 teaspoon orange zest (1 large orange)
• 1/4 cup orange juice (1/2 orange)
• 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

For the Pasta:

• 1-pound Gemelli pasta or alternative
• One 2 1/2-pound rotisserie chicken, meat picked and shredded (about 3 cups)
• 1 cup red or green Cerignola olives, pitted and roughly chopped
• 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
• Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


1. For the pesto: Place the walnuts, garlic and kale in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil to form a smooth sauce. Add the salt, pepper flakes, orange zest, orange juice and Parmesan. Pulse until well blended. Pour the pesto into a large
bowl and set aside.
2. For the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gemelli and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Add the hot pasta to the bowl with the pesto and toss well with a rubber spatula to coat.

4. Add the chicken, the Cerignola and Kalamata olives, and the salt and Parmesan.

5. Toss again. Loosen with pasta water as needed.

6. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil if desired.