Earlier this week I posted a review of Gizzi’s Season’s Eatings, the latest offering from Gizzi Erskine. This book targets the holiday season with recipes that resonate celebratory flavor. The beautiful photos are deep and intense. When you look at the book, your expectations will soar. When you cook with this book, your expectations will be satisfied.
Gizzi is British with an Italian heritage as well. This dish, a favorite from her mother, is a symphony of flavors. Gizzi says the dish “reeks of garlic, has a heavy backbone of umami from the anchovy, stings with chili and all comes together with the zestiness of lemon.” How can you resist?
Kale, Chilli, Anchovy and Lemon Pesto
Yield: 2 pounds
- 12 ounces spaghetti or linguine
- 9 ounces of kale, leaves stripped from the stalks
- 7 ounces olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1-2 red chillies, finely chopped
- 8-12 salted anchovies in oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Finely grated Parmesan cheese, to serve
- Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Pop your pasta in and cook for 8-9 minutes, or until al dente. Place a sieve into the same pan of boiling water the pasta is cooking in. Plunge the kale into the submerged sieve and cook for 1-2 minutes. When done, lift the sieve out; this will drain it at the same time.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium to large pan. Add the garlic and chillies and cook over a low heat for a couple of minutes, or until the room is full of those great magical garlicky smells and the garlic has softened. You don’t want to color the garlic, as it will start to taste bitter. Add the anchovies and stir them until they have melted into the oil. Next add the blanched leaves and stir-fry them for a minute until they are coated in all the garlicky oil.
Transfer all this into a blender with 1 tablespoon of the pasta cooking water, the lemon juice and plenty of seasoning, and blitz until it forms a smooth paste. Drain the pasta and tip it back into the pan, then stir in the pesto and serve with stacks of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Source: Gizzi’s Season’s Eatings by Gizzi Erskine [Mitchell Beazley, 2017]