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Fregola with kale pesto, poached eggs & Parm shavings

This dish is both quick and satisfying. Make it for one or make it for four; it’s nearly the same amount of effort and time. Not only is this a great meatless Monday option, but it’s also a great way to use up an entire bunch of kale, that may-or-may-not be kicking it in your crisper. I found the recipe over at food and style, where they also produce videos for each of their recipes!

If you can’t find fregola (tiny balls of pasta that have been toasted) don’t sweat it, this recipe will work equally well with any pasta that has twists and grooves, as they're more likely to catch and hold all that luxurious pesto!

Fregola with kale pesto, poached eggs & Parm shavings

Makes enough for 4

1 Tbsp sea salt for the pasta water

12 oz (340 g) fregola

1/2 cup reserved pasta water

2 Tbsp white vinegar (to poach the eggs)

4 extra large eggs

1 cup kale pesto (see below)

sea salt to taste

extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

1/2 cup Parm shavings (use a vegetable hand-peeler)

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the salt and fregola. Cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain well.

While the pasta is cooking, fill a medium saucepan with 3″ to 4″ of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the vinegar and reduce heat to medium-high so you have a good boil, but not a roaring boil. Break four eggs into four separate small bowls and tip each egg onto itself in the boiling water, working as quickly as you can. Boil the eggs for 3-4 minutes (depending on how firm you like your egg whites to be, 3 is oozy and 4 is firm-ish). As soon as the eggs are done, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels.

Place the fregola in a large bowl. Add the kale pesto and drizzle with the reserved pasta water. Toss until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Spoon into bowls. Nestle a poached egg in the center of each bowl, make a slit in each egg with a paring knife and sprinkle with sea salt. Drizzle with a little olive oil, garnish with the Parm shavings and finish with black pepper. Serve immediately.

Kale pesto

makes1 1/4- 1 1/2 cups

1 bunch kale (8-12 leaves depending on size)

1-2 parsley sprigs, stems removed – optional

1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan

1 large garlic clove – skinned and halved - optional

1/4 cup pine nuts - optional

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil + extra for thinning

Using this method to quickly prep kale, flip each leaf over and along the back, and pinch the kale all the way along the rib. Then grab the leaf loosely at the bottom and pull the leaf away from the rib. Do this for all the kale, then wash in water while giving the kale a good massage. Place kale leaves on a tea tower and then roll the towel up tightly to soak up moisture. Squeeze the kale filled towel and unroll.

Fill your food processor with all or half of the kale, working in two batches if you have smaller processor (like me). Add the parsley, cheese, garlic, pine nuts, salt and olive oil. Whiz on high speed for 15-20 seconds and then scrape down the edges. Check to see if it looks a little dry, if so add another tablespoon of olive oil and blend again until smooth. Check one more time for the right oil consistency, add a bit more if needed. Taste to see if it needs anything – salt? Done!

Use right away, refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for later.

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