Elbow Macaroni with Sautéed Kale + Basil Pesto

Great tasting food really doesn't need to be complicated. A homemade sauce like pesto takes hardly five to ten minutes to prepare. For some reason, the idea of making a sauce from scratch [on a weeknight], rather than buying one, seems out of reach. For me, it's a matter of being lazy, but whenever I do muster up the energy to make my favorite kind of pesto, I'm always reminded of amazing and simple it is. In any case, the following macaroni with sautéed kale and basil pesto is the perfect "quick and easy" dish for a weeknight. 

Note: the basil pesto recipe below is a standalone recipe as it yields four cups. For freezing, pack it in containers with the air completely pressed out and a layer of oil on top to prevent browning. 



Elbow Macaroni and Sautéed Kale


3/4 lb. elbow macaroni (or your favorite type of pasta)

1 tsp salt

1 bunch kale

2 tbsp EVOO

2 garlic cloves, minced

Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Salt and pepper



1. In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for about seven minutes until al dente. Note: if you use a different pasta, follow the instructions on the packet 

2. Drain the pasta. Toss a little EVOO with the pasta. Set aside                                                                                          

3. Tear the kale leaves from its stems and rinse under cool water in a colander. Allow kale to drain. Cut the kale in to thin strips/small pieces 

4. Add the 2 tbsp EVOO and minced garlic to a skillet. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic is soft

5. Add kale. Continue to sauté until kale is completely wilted and turned a deep green/brown color

6. Season the pasta and kale with salt and cracked black pepper. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes over the top if desired


Basil Pesto


1/4 cup pine nuts

8-9 garlic cloves, chopped

5 cups fresh basil leaves

1 tsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup grated Parmesan



1. Place the pine nuts and garlic in a food processor. Process for a few seconds until blended together

2. Add the basil leaves, salt and black pepper. While the processor is running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feeder tube and process until pesto is thoroughly pureed

3. Add the Parmesan and puree until mixed in well

Enjoy! And if you decide to recreate a version of this, or any future dishes, please send me pictures and let me know how it turned out! Don't forget to tag and hashtag @sobiasiddiqui and #modalacarte on IG