Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Whole Wheat Penne Pasta with Kale

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is a wonderful dish for a meatless Monday or Lenten Friday. I know that kale is considered to be a superfood and that whole wheat pasta is better for my family than its paler counterparts, but when I make this dish I don't concentrate on its health benefits. I make it because it tastes so good. Nonetheless, it doesn't hurt to know why this dish is good for you. Like its cousins, broccoli and cauliflower, kale is a descendent of the wild cabbage and it has been eaten for centuries. There are several varieties of kale, each has a unique flavor and texture but all are packed with nutritional value and a boatload of fiber. Curly kale has ruffled leaves with a pungent, peppery flavor. The leaves of Tuscan kale are a dark bluish green and tastes delicately sweet. Ornamental kale is a newer cultivated species that is oftentimes referred to as salad savoy. Its leaves may either be green, white, or purple and have a mild flavor. All varieties of kale are rich in vitamins and minerals, but what really puts kale into the superfood category is its abundance of phytochemicals which are believed to help prevent cell damage, prevent cancer cell replication and decrease cholesterol levels. This pasta is relatively easy to prepare and if you have never used kale in a pasta sauce, I hope you'll give this recipe a try. The dish was originally developed for Gourmet magazine and it appeared again this summer in a special publication called Gourmet's Easy Dinners. Here's how the dish is made.

Whole Wheat Penne Pasta with Kale
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Gourmet's Easy Dinners

1-1/2 pounds kale, leaves torn from stem and center ribs (discard stems and ribs)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper
1 pound whole-wheat penne
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut in pieces


1) Cook kale in a 6- to 8-quart pot of well-salted boiling water, uncovered until just tender, 4 to 8 minutes. Transfer kale with tongs to a colander; reserve cooking water. When kale is cool enough to handle lightly, squeeze to remove excess liquid, then chop into bite-size pieces. Return water to a boil for pasta.
2) Cook nuts in oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to towels to drain. Cook garlic, onion, pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in remaining oil, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
3) Cook penne in boiling water until al dente. Reserve about 2 cups of pasta water, then drain pasta. Return pasta to empty pot; stir in cheese, butter, kale, onion mixture, 1 cup reserved pasta water, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat, stirring, 1 minute, moistening with additional pasta water if desired. Serve sprinkled with almonds and additional cheese. Yield: 6 servings.

One Year Ago Today: Apple Cider Donuts and the Halloween Donut Game

Two Years Ago Today: Buffalo-Style Hot Wings

Three Years Ago Today: Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake


Alicia said...

Look delicious! I've just recently started to eat Kale. First time was the Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden. I saw recently a recipe for Kale Chips that looked interesting and now your recipe. Kale must be the new black! :)

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

That sounds interesting. I thought it was going to be too dry but the added pasta water at the end obviously prevents it. Must give it a go. Thanks Diane

shooting star said...

very interesting..and something made without meat!!!

so i will try this!!

Fuat Gencal said...

Merhabalar, ellerinize, emeğinize sağlık. Ne kadar leziz ve iştah açıcı bir görüntüsü var.


Debbie said...

Another one to try. This sounds delicious and nutritious! My mom makes a German dish mashing potatoes with kale and it's so good. That's the only way I've ever had kale so this sounds interesting.

Kim Garceau said...

This is a simple pasta dish and I'm sure it's tasty!

Anonymous said...

I'm on board with you regarding kale. Another thing about it: it's easy to grow, even in the "high desert" conditions of Denver. I take exception to the notion of whole wheat pasta however. If you know of a brand that is even acceptable, I'm sure your many readers would like to know of it.

StephenC said...

Hit the wrong key. That previous comment is from me.

Jenn said...

Can you believe I still have never tried kale? With my love for pasta, this may be the recipe I was waiting for :)

The Café Sucré Farine said...

This sounds like a great Fall dish, I would love to use more kale as it's so nutritious but I don't have ton of recipes for it, so thanks! said...

Kale is my new spinach. Great recipe...

David said...

Mary, I like kale and whole wheat pasta is ok...but a day without meat is a day lacking least for this carnivore. Maybe as a side dish... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Joanne said...

I'm pretty much obsessed with all things kale. Love this!

Kim said...

Mario Batali has a similar recipe in one of his books. Either way, this looks incredible to me. I am crazy about kale (and pasta)!

Pam said...

This sounds really good, Mary! Love the addition of almonds. I need to busy some kale now. Have a good day, my friend!

We Are Not Martha said...

I love how simple, but awesome this dish is! Kale makes everything better :)


teresa said...

i don't get enough kale in my diet, this looks like the perfect way to get more!

Aldy @ Al Dente Gourmet said...

I'm a fan of pasta and your whole wheat pasta with kale sounds delightful! Hope your having a great week, Mary!

Hugs <3

France@beyondthepeel said...

We make one really similar using broccoli and walnuts. I can't wait to try it with kale and almonds. It will be a great way to change up the usual.

Lindalou said...

Oh, this sound so good. I've been wanting to cook with Kale and just haven't gotten around to it yet. This is great inspiration.

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