Gemelli with Kale Pesto and Olives
Courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis
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  • For the pesto

    • 1/2 cup raw walnut halves
    • 1 clove garlic, peeled
    • 3 cups baby kale
    • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1 teaspoon orange zest, from one large orange
    • 1/4 cup orange juice, from half an orange
    • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • For the pasta

    • 1 pound gemelli
    • 1 (2 1/2 pound) rotisserie chicken, meat picked and shredded, about 3 cups
    • 1 cup red or green cerignola olives, pitted and roughly chopped
    • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
    • Additional extra virgin olive oil to drizzle


To make the pesto, place the walnuts, garlic and kale in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil to form a smooth sauce. Season with the salt, chili flakes, orange zest and juice. Pulse in the Parmesan. Pour the pesto into a large bowl and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the gemelli for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Add the hot pasta to the bowl with pesto. Toss well with a rubber spatula to coat. Add the chicken, cerignolas, kalamatas, salt and Parmesan. Mix again, loosening with the pasta water as needed. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil if desired.