I’m starting to warm up to kale. It took awhile, and some peer pressure. And guilt.
One of my favorite ways to disguise ->ahem!<- incorporate kale in meals, is to add it to pasta. We do love pasta around here, and I’ve got to admit that – aside from calling out for pizza – it’s my favorite “fallback” position when it comes to supper. Perfect for “Meatless Monday” (today is Monday, right?), 30-Minute Meals, or whatever category you’d like to put it in, we just call it “Delicious.” We’re totally going Italian, here!
1 lb. spaghetti
1 bunch kale
1/4 cup olive oil
4 Tbs. butter
4 – 5 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 19 oz. can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
Salt and pepper
Balsamic vinegar & parmesan cheese to finish
Cook and drain the pasta according to the package directions and set aside.
While you’re waiting for the pasta water to boil, rinse the kale under cold water, blot fairly dry, and, using just your hands, strip the leafy parts off of the ribs. Discard the ribs. Roll up the leafy bits and slice into thin strips.
Using the same pot you cooked the pasta in, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add salt and pepper, and continue to poach the garlic until it just starts to turn golden, about 4 – 5 minutes. Add the kale strips and toss until it’s completely coated with the hot garlic oil and wilts. Add the beans, followed by the cooked pasta, and toss it all together until the kale and beans are well-distributed.
Serve in individual bowls and finish by drizzling some balsamic vinegar over each serving and grating some parmesan cheese on top. If you want to make it look really fancy, shave the cheese on top with a vegetable peeler. You can also serve it family-style, and let everyone do their own drizzling and grating (or shaving). Add some nice crusty Italian-style bread, and ->poof!<- supper’s ready!
Okay, I made up the name. It means pasta with beans and kale. But if I called it that, would you look at it twice? And now you’ve got a fancy Italian name when the family looks at it, looks at you, and says, “What’s that?”
If you don’t want to use butter, just add another 1/4 cup of olive oil. I know it sounds like a lot of oil, but it really isn’t when you consider that it has to coat all of that pasta and greenery. You can also substitute 4 Tbs. of Smart Balance Light spread (my favorite non-dairy butter substitute), but it will take a bit longer to melt.
Make it even healthier by using wholegrain pasta. Many of the newer ones are very very good.
If you’re in a really fancy mood, or serving this to company, adding a small drizzle of truffle oil at the end will really send this over the moon. You know, if you happen to have some around.
This dish is fast, it’s easy, and it’s completely open to change-ups. No kale? Try some Swiss chard. No cannellini beans? How about some navy beans or great northerns? Kidney beans would add a real pop of color, and make it the same colors as the Italian flag!
*Name change at suggestion of two actual Italian-speakers. LOL! And just when I was getting the hang of typing Ravizzone.