Green Angels-Baby Kale Pesto Pasta

Music Pairing: Paganini, Caprice #24


So, here’s a thing: we love sauces and we love to combine delicious ingredients to create them.  What we might possibly love even more is taking on traditional sauces and making them our own by altering the ingredients that are not precisely traditional. Pesto is a favorite across the board: most family members like it on pasta, Afa likes a vegan pesto on quinoa or baguette toasts, etc. The word pesto comes from the Italian ‘pestare’, meaning ‘to pound, or crush’.  We thought the other cool thing about pesto is that it comes from Genoa, the birthplace of one of the most important musical figures of the Romantic era, the incredible Niccolo Paganini.  As violinists we love to learn and listen to his concerti, his famous La Campanella and of course, the amazing, beloved 24 Caprices.  We are pairing the story with his riveting 24th Caprice (one of our favorite versions with piano accompaniment by Jascha Heifetz) (something that Afa loved to play in college), not only because of Paganini’s origins being synonymous with that of the pesto, but also because his rumored-to-be rebellious nature resonates with approach to food.  A pesto traditionally employs basil, olive oil, salt, garlic and sometimes pine nuts and parmesan.  Ours is vegan and the principal green is baby kale, which is slightly bitter and spicy.  At times, we experiment with mint and lemon, or arugula and cilantro pesto instead.  Among other peculiar things about the Italian virtuoso is that he also opened his own casino and enjoyed games of strategy and chance: a trait and passion he shares with AaronJ.  As you pour yourself a Cinque Terre wine and listen to the music, we hope that this story sparks your interest to learn about good ole’ Niccolo and try this simple yet delicious pairing!


  • 8 oz of baby kale
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 1 T sea salt
  • 1 T pepper
  • ½ C olive oil
  • 1 T fresh ground pepper


  • Combine all ingredients into a Cuisinart or your favorite food processor
  • Grate/mince finely until the paste becomes a beautiful, wholesome emerald green
  • Boil an angel hair (capellini) pasta in cold salty water for not more than 5 mins
  • Combine the pasta thoroughly with the sauce
  • Grate a fresh parmiggiano cheese on top
  • Grate some additional Tellicherry peppercorns on top
  • Serve and enjoy immediately

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