Lemon Mushroom Pappardelle with Kale Pesto.

It’s been pretty dreary in Seattle this week.  The chance of rain is high, meaning chance of me leaving the house is low.  And when the weather turns ugly, I turn to comfort food.  Pasta is typically my weapon of choice.

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There is something that feels really fancy about eating pappardelle.  And while I do know how to make my own (after a few long afternoons in the Traditional European lab in culinary school!), these days I opt to go with the packaged variety.  Kale adds an awesome bitterness to this pesto sauce – in a good way.  And the mushrooms and capers round it out with a comforting, slightly Mediterranean tanginess that makes this pasta dish feel like a fun upgrade from traditional spaghetti night. 

Lemon Mushroom Pappardelle with Kale Pesto

by Emily Malone

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (4 servings)

    For the Pesto

    • 1 bunch Italian or Dinosaur kale
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
    • 2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds
    • salt to taste

    For the Pasta

    • 1 package TJ’s lemon pepper pappardelle (or other noodle)
    • 1 pint sliced mushrooms
    • 2 red onion, sliced thin
    • 2 tablespoons capers


    Rinse kale and remove leaves from stems. Add kale, olive oil, lemon juice, sliced almonds, and hemp seeds to a food processor. Pulse until combined into a good pesto texture. You will probably need to stop and scrape the sides down quite a few times. Season the pesto to taste with salt, and set aside. (This pesto can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until ready to use.)

    To assemble the dish, start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil for your pasta. I bought this new lemon pepper pappardelle pasta from Trader Joe’s, which I would highly recommend. But if you don’t have a TJ’s nearby, you can sub in a plain pappardelle or other pasta of your choice. Cook pasta according to package directions.

    lemon pepper

    (image source)

    While the pasta cooks, sauté one thinly sliced red onion along with one pint of sliced mushrooms. Cook until very soft and beginning to develop a good amount of browning.

    Once the pasta has cooked, drain and add pasta to the sauté pan with the vegetables. Add pesto and capers, and toss the whole mixture in the sauté pan over medium low heat.

    The pesto should loosen a bit with the heat, and distribute evenly among the noodles and veggies while tossing.  Do a final seasoning with salt to taste.  Plate in your favorite pasta bowl. 

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    I like to do a final drizzle with olive oil just before serving – it gives it that perfect finishing touch.

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    I tend to think that pasta dishes have a pretty short life as far as freshness and flavor go, but the richness of this pesto sauce make leftovers just as tasty the next day. 

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    The next time you’re feeling a pasta night, try this fun twist on traditional pesto, and treat yourself to a simple, but seemingly fancy dish in the comfort of your own kitchen. 

    I am off to the airport to pick up a very special visitor this morning!!

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