Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pasta with Kale

I'm late to the kale craze. My go-to greens for a blast of nutrition are spinach and Southern-style greens. Spinach is quick to tenderize, while collard greens take an hour of slow cooking to get all the bitterness out. Kale looks like mustard greens, but cooks tender quicker.

My favorite spinach recipe is for Saag Paneer, and for collard green, it's, of course, Soul Food Greens with molasses and bacon. Both are so good - just click on the names to get my recipes.

My Pasta with Kale is a light entree, but flavorful. It's simple and quick to make. You just saute the chopped kale in a little olive oil, then add some garlic and pasta water; add the cooked pasta and top with some parmesan cheese - that's it.

Kale shrinks when cooked, but not as much as spinach does. I find the stems are tough, so I removed the largest parts of them. 

Kale can be eaten raw and stays somewhat firm when sauteed for about 5 minutes. I like the texture and taste. It seems to have a light broccoli flavor.

I don't know how much kale cost a couple years ago, but I find it at regular markets priced as cheap as lettuce and at my local Latin market it's even cheaper.

This is a light pasta meal, but filling. I think you will like my Pasta with Kale, especially since it's so nutritious.

Ingredients (2 servings)
  • 1 bunch of kale - clean and remove tough stems. Chop into 2 inch segments.
  • 2/3 to 1 whole package of spaghetti - or any favorite pasta. Cooked according to directions. I used regular spaghetti, but you can use gluten free or whole wheat pasta.
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic - fresh or from a jar.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil - or any favorite tasting oil.
  • Water for boiling pasta - save a quarter cup of pasta water to add to finish recipe.
  • Parmesan cheese - to top finished dish.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Extra ingredients - red pepper flakes, a little white wine or lemon juice. Also a pat of butter, or drizzle on extra tablespoon of olive oil when finished.

Start the pasta water boiling. Add a tablespoon of salt. When pasta water is boiling then add it and follow package directions. I always cut off a minute of cooking time.

Clean the kale and remove the largest parts of the stems. Roughly chop the kale into about 2 inch segments. Doesn't have to be perfectly chopped. The kale will shrink a little when cooked.

Add tablespoon of oil to a medium heated pan large enough to cook the kale. Add the kale and stir while it cooks and softens. Kale will reduce in size and be tender in about 5 minutes.

When kale is soft move it to one side and add the garlic. Let it cook for 30 seconds while stirring. Don't let it burn though. Mix the garlic into the cooked kale.

Now time to bring it all together. Pasta should be done. Drain it but save some of the pasta water.

Add 1/4 cup of pasta water to kale. Mix well and add the cooked pasta. You can add the parmesan cheese now, or add it when the Pasta with Kale is served.

Also add any extra ingredients listed above: like a splash of white wine or lemon juice.

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