Kale and hazel­nut ‘pesto’, feta, orzo and red onion

The Observer Food Monthly - - CONTENTS - Yo­tam Ot­tolenghi

Makes twice the amount of pesto you need for this dish, but it’s not worth mak­ing less, and it keeps for up to three days in the fridge. You can make this an­chovy-free, if you do, add a lit­tle ex­tra salt.

Serves 4

red onions 3, peeled and cut into wedges about 2-3cm wide olive oil 150ml salt and black pep­per kale 300g, stems re­moved (save them for a vegetable soup), leaves roughly torn into 4cm-wide pieces hazel­nuts 100g, blanched, lightly roasted and roughly chopped feta 150g, roughly crum­bled into 1-2cm pieces basil leaves 40g, roughly torn an­chovy fil­lets in oil 2, drained, rinsed, pat­ted dry, finely chopped orzo 150g boil­ing wa­ter 1 litre lemon finely grated zest of 1, plus 1 tbsp juice


Heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Mix the onion wedges in a medium bowl with a ta­ble­spoon of oil, a quar­ter-tea­spoon of salt and a gen­er­ous grind of pep­per. Ar­range on a 22cm x 33cm oven tray lined with grease­proof pa­per, and roast for 20 min­utes, stir­ring once half­way so they cook evenly, un­til soft and caramelised. Re­move from the oven and set aside to cool.

Put 50g of the kale leaves in a food pro­ces­sor with half the hazel­nuts, half the feta, half the basil, 75ml olive oil, all the an­chovies, 3 ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter and a good grind of black pep­per, and blitz to a rough paste.

Heat 2 ta­ble­spoons of oil in a medium saucepan on a medi­umhigh flame, then fry half the re­main­ing kale and a pinch of salt for a minute or 2, stir­ring con­stantly, un­til it starts to brown and go crisp. Trans­fer to a plate lined with kitchen pa­per and heat the last 2 ta­ble­spoons of oil in the same pan. Fry the re­main­ing kale with a pinch of salt as be­fore, then add to the first batch.

With the pan still on a medi­umhigh heat, add the orzo and stir for 1-2 min­utes, un­til it starts to toast and turn golden-brown, then care­fully pour in the boil­ing wa­ter and add a tea­spoon of salt. Boil the orzo for 6-8 min­utes, un­til cooked but still with some bite, then drain. If you’re not eat­ing straight­away, re­fresh un­der cold wa­ter.

Put the drained pasta in a large bowl, add half the pesto and toss to coat. Gen­tly stir in the roast onions, half the lemon zest, all the lemon juice, the re­main­ing hazel­nuts, feta and basil, fold in the crisped kale. Sprin­kle over the re­main­ing lemon zest, and pack into your cho­sen lunch­box. Re­frig­er­ate it if you can when you get to work, take it out 30 min­utes be­fore lunchtime.

Left, kale and hazel­nut ‘pesto’, feta, orzo and red onion

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