I always love this time of year. With the growing length of daylight, hope springs eternal and we all breathe a sigh of relief that spring is finally almost here.

If you’ve never made pesto try this easy recipe using kale. Yes, I know kale has that reputation as being a bit boring, but pesto made with the stuff is so not boring. Also, do a little research or just goggle kale and find out about this amazing super food. Incorporate a little bit of it from time to time into your cooking and help your body get ready for summer from the inside out.

Bucatini with Winter Pesto & Sweet Potatoes

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 medium red onion, cut into wedges

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Salt and pepper

4 cups torn kale, collards, or mustard green leaves

1/2 cup fresh parsley

2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1 garlic clove

2 teaspoons lemon zest, plus

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

12 ounces bucatini

Toasted pine nuts, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Toss together pesto, onion, and 2 tablespoons oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, stirring once, until potato and onion are tender, 24 to 26 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, place kale and parsley in food processor. Pulse until chopped, 4 to 5 times. Add Parmesan, garlic, lemon zest, and juice. Pulse, scraping down the sides as needed, until finely chopped, 10 to 12 times. With the machine running slowly add remaining 1/3 cup olive oil through the feed tube. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/4 pasta water before draining. Toss pasta with toasted vegetables, pesto, and pasta water.

4. Serve topped with Parmesan and pine nuts.

Serves 4.

(Source: Country Living)

Susan Woody has been a food writer for more than 25 years and is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.