Cheesy Pesto Baked Cavatelli with Kale & Tomatoes

Cheesy Pesto Baked Cavatelli

with Kale & Tomatoes

35 MIN
4 Servings
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    From the Test Kitchen

    To create this satisfying pasta bake, you’ll mix sautéed veggies with tender bites of fresh cavatelli pasta, two kinds of melty cheese, and a dollop of herbaceous basil pesto. A layer of crispy breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of tangy romano cheese add more layers of delicious flavor and texture to this crowd-pleasing dish.
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    Dietary Information

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    Vegetarian
    • Nutrition
      PER SERVING
    • Calories
      720 Cals (est.)
    View Full Nutrition
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    fresh
    ingredients
    Cheesy Pesto Baked Cavatelli with Kale & Tomatoes
    Title
    • 1 lb Fresh Cavatelli Pasta (Previously Frozen)
    • 2 cloves Garlic
    • ½ lb Grape Tomatoes
    • ¾ lb Kale
    • ⅓ cup Basil Pesto
    • ¼ cup Panko Breadcrumbs
    • ¼ cup Grated Romano Cheese
    • ¼ cup Cream
    • 2 oz Fontina Cheese
    • 4 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
    • ¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
    time-saving
    tips & techniques
    Prepare the ingredients
    1 Prepare the ingredients

    Place an oven rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 450°F. Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way up with salted water; cover and heat to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic. Separate the kale leaves from the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Halve the tomatoes. Small dice the mozzarella. Grate the fontina on the large side of a box grater. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

    Cook the pasta
    2 Cook the pasta

    Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 11 to 13 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

    Cook the vegetables
    3 Cook the vegetables

    Meanwhile, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the chopped garlic and as much of the red pepper flakes as you'd like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until slightly softened. Add the chopped kale; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the kale is slightly wilted. Add the cream (carefully, as the liquid may splatter) and 1/2 cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the kale is wilted and most of the liquid has cooked off. Turn off the heat and stir in the halved tomatoes.

    Assemble the casserole
    4 Assemble the casserole

    To the pot of cooked pasta, add the cooked vegetables, diced mozzarella, grated fontina, and pesto. Stir to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to a large baking dish and arrange in an even layer. Evenly top with the seasoned breadcrumbs.

    Bake the casserole & serve your dish
    5 Bake the casserole & serve your dish

    Bake the casserole 9 to 11 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 2 minutes before serving. Serve the baked casserole garnished with the romano. Enjoy!  

    Tips from Home Chefs

    Prepare the ingredients
    1 Prepare the ingredients

    Place an oven rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 450°F. Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way up with salted water; cover and heat to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic. Separate the kale leaves from the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Halve the tomatoes. Small dice the mozzarella. Grate the fontina on the large side of a box grater. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

    2 Cook the pasta

    Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 11 to 13 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

    Cook the pasta
    Cook the vegetables
    3 Cook the vegetables

    Meanwhile, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the chopped garlic and as much of the red pepper flakes as you'd like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until slightly softened. Add the chopped kale; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the kale is slightly wilted. Add the cream (carefully, as the liquid may splatter) and 1/2 cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the kale is wilted and most of the liquid has cooked off. Turn off the heat and stir in the halved tomatoes.

    4 Assemble the casserole

    To the pot of cooked pasta, add the cooked vegetables, diced mozzarella, grated fontina, and pesto. Stir to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to a large baking dish and arrange in an even layer. Evenly top with the seasoned breadcrumbs.

    Assemble the casserole
    Bake the casserole & serve your dish
    5 Bake the casserole & serve your dish

    Bake the casserole 9 to 11 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 2 minutes before serving. Serve the baked casserole garnished with the romano. Enjoy!  

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