Fusilli Pasta with Collard Green Pesto & Garbanzo Beans

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


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I made this the other night for the same group of guests that were served my Caprese Lasagna Rolls.


I felt it was different enough from the bright red lasagna rolls and also mild enough in its flavors that a potentially very conservative palate should not object.  Regular pesto doesn’t seem to be very controversial so why should a collard greens version raise objections?  And look at the color of the pesto!


Seriously.  That is what it looks like.

This could NOT be easier to pull off so I hope you try it.  I used toasted almonds in this but you could substitute pecans or walnuts or pine nuts (risking pine mouth!) or pistachios – maybe even cashews.  The kind of nuts & even the kind of cheese you use in pesto can be very flexible.  This makes a LOT of pesto so be prepared for leftovers.  You can use the pesto as a sandwich spread or on a collard greens pesto pizza – like this!


Fusilli Pasta with Collard Green Pesto & Garbanzo Beans


1 lb pasta

1 (15 oz) can of garbanzo beans (chick peas)

2 bunches of collard greens

4 garlic cloves

1/2 cup olive oil (or so)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan (plus extra for garnish)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Parsley or basil as garnish (or micro arugula!)



Boil a large pot of water (large enough for the pasta).  Cut the rib out of the collard greens.


Submerge the collard greens in boiling water for 4 minutes or so – until they are soft & bright green.  Remove them from the boiling water (reserving the now green water) & drain under cold water.  Squeeze them dry.  Take about 1/4 of the collard greens & roll them into a tube.


Slice that tube of greens up & set aside.  Put the rest of the greens in the bowl of your food processor.

Toast the nuts in a dry pan for about 3 minutes being careful not to burn them.  Add them, the nuts, and the garlic, cheese and S&P to the food processor & pulse until it is all chopped up.  Then, with the processor running, drizzle the olive oil in until the pesto is the thickness you desire.  You might use more or less olive oil.  You can even add some water to thin it, if you like.  Adjust the S&P.



Cook the pasta according to directions in the green collard water.  In the last minute or two of the pasta cooking, add the drained garbanzo beans & the chopped collard greens.  When done, drain & toss with SOME of the pesto.  This recipe makes quite a lot of pesto – so mix it into the pasta in increments until all the pasta is well coated.  Serve it up with extra grated Parmesan & plenty of freshly ground pepper – and maybe some obnoxiously expensive micro arugula – as I did.  Or just chop up some basil or parsley & sprinkle it on there.


Homemade Fusilli Pasta with Faux Chicken (Albacore Tuna) and Cauliflower in a Mustard Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


The fusilli require THIS amazing Kitchenaid pasta press and the stand mixer.  If you do not have these things, dry pasta is fine or make a homemade pasta of a different shape.

The sauce is a lighter take on one of my favorite sauces that really consists of little more than a nice Dijon & lots of heavy cream heated in a pan.  This one is made without the cream but with yogurt, instead.  It is naturally tangier than it would be with cream and, honestly, I prefer the heavy cream but I also prefer fitting into my pants, so – we do what we have to.

The faux chicken is really just frozen albacore that I buy at Trader Joe’s.  It looks like this raw


These two pieces weighed .85 pounds and cost $5.35.  I am not a huge fan of this inexpensive fish cooked the way albacore should be cooked (nor am I a fan of most of Trader Joe’s frozen seafood as I find it tends to cook up fishy) but when this fish is overcooked it replicates chicken breast pretty incredibly with no fishy element whatsoever.  This dish could be made with actual chicken or shrimp or with only the cauliflower – if you do not eat meat or seafood.

I added a ton of cauliflower, too, because 1) I like cauliflower and 2) it is a guiltless filler in a pasta dish that might get sorta rich (especially if you use heavy cream).

Finally, I used a store brand Dijon & was woefully aware it wasn’t Grey Poupon (or other higher end mustard).  In a mustard based sauce – it is kind of important to start with a quality mustard.


Homemade Fusilli Pasta with Faux Chicken (Albacore) and Cauliflower in a Mustard Sauce


For the pasta

400 grams (or 1 3/4 cups) flour

4 eggs

pinch nutmeg

1 tsp salt

OR – 1 lb dry pasta of your choice

For the mustard sauce

2 albacore steaks (or chicken breast or 1 lb shrimp)

1 small head cauliflower – leaves removed & cut in half

1 medium onion – diced

2 cloves of garlic – diced

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS fresh thyme – chopped

1 cup stock (or water)

10 TBS high quality Dijon mustard

1 1/3 cups plain yogurt

S&P to taste

Fresh parsley – chopped for garnish

Tomatoes – diced for garnish

Parmesan for garnish


For the pasta

Homemade pasta directions HERE

Or use dry pasta.

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For the faux chicken & cauliflower in mustard sauce

Heat the olive oil in a large pan.  Cook the albacore several minutes on each side until cooked through.  Or – do the same for your real chicken or shrimp.

When cooked, remove from pan & cube it up.  You cannot really overcook this albacore & if you undercook it – it will cook through when you heat it in the sauce.  Chicken & shrimp CAN be overcooked – so be more careful with those – if you are using them.

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Add onions & garlic to the pan (add more oil if you need to) & saute until the onions begin to brown.  Add the stock, mustard, yogurt & thyme and stir until smooth.  Add the cooked “meat” and S&P to taste.   Heat through.  Simmer it to thicken or add more water to thin it out.

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Boil the water to cook the pasta.  Add the halved cauliflower & boil until tender.   Remove with a slotted spoon & cut into bite-sized pieces.

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Cook your dry pasta according to directions adding the cooked cauliflower in the last minute to reheat.  Or – add the cooked cauliflower to the pot with homemade pasta & drain when done.

Top the pasta & cauliflower with the mustard sauce & garnish with diced tomato, parsley & Parmesan ((f using).  Add lots of fresh cracked pepper.


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