Couscous Stuffed Peppers

After harvesting all the kale, I made batches of kale pesto. Batches of kale pesto.

I am not sure if I make kale pesto the “correct way or not” but in general I use kale, walnuts or almonds, garlic, a little salt, pecorino cheese and olive oil. I sometimes add lemon juice , honey or basil to it to cut some of the kale taste, but I try to keep it pretty simple. I think I ended up making about eight cups of pesto on Saturday and I know I used a head of garlic and a bag of walnuts along with most of the harvested kale. (Still have enough for a large kale salad.)

But what to do with all that pesto. Well, we have a nice ravioli and pesto lunch and for dinner I tried a modified version of a NYT recipe I found that looked really good. I wasn’t going to make regular pesto, and I wanted to make my own tomato sauce using the tomatoes I picked (so they wouldn’t go to waste).  I wasn’t sure about this since Bob doesn’t like peppers all that much, I decided to try it.

General thoughts were that I loved the sauce (I was actually really, really impressed with the sauce) and the filling, but didn’t think the peppers added much to the dish. I think it can be much simpler – leave out the peppers, fold the pesto and the tomato sauce into the couscous and toss with a little mozzarella cheese. That, I think would make a perfect dish.

Kale pesto:

  • 1 large bunch kale
  • 2 large or 3 medium cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (+/- depending on consistency preference)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • basil leaves, lemon juice, or honey (optional)

De-stem the kale and break into small to medium-sized pieces. Rough chop the garlic and walnuts. All kale, walnuts and garlic to food processor process for a few seconds, just until everything starts to break down. Add in olive oil, salt and any extras (basil, lemon or honey) and process again. You may have to do this two or three times, scrapping the sides in between each round. You may also have to add olive oil in batches if you like a more sauce like consistency. (I tend to make my pesto dry and add more oil right before I use it if needed.)

Tomato sauce:

  • 1 cup heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 oz crushed tomato
  • 1/3 cup pasta water
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. When hot, add the tomatoes and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until the skins become soft. Add crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Stir to combine everything and allow to reduce a little. Add pasta water and mix. Reduce a little more – the sauce should thicken a little – and taste to adjust seasoning.

Couscous:

  • 1 cup pearled or Israeli couscous
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Heat olive oil in a small to medium pot over medium high heat. When hot, add couscous and stir to coat all the pearls. Cook, stirring, for about two minutes. Add two cups of vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cook about 15 minutes. Drain 1/3 cup of the liquid and reserve for the tomato sauce. Drain the rest of the broth and return the couscous to the pan.

To combine:

Add pesto (about 2/3 cup is what I used) and mix well.

Here is what I didn’t do, but will be doing next time:

Add couscous with pesto to the pan with tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Mix in about 1/3 cup mozzarella pearls (or chunks of fresh mozzarella) and combine. Plate.

 

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