Sunday, September 27, 2009
Angela's Pasta with Kale
Last week I bought the October issue of Bon Apetit Magazine and loved the article I read about Kale. I never had Kale before and it made me really curious. I posted this on facebook and I got a reply from Angela to try her Pasta with Kale recipe. I've known Angela pretty much my entire life, you see, we used to live across the street from each other in Brooklyn and then a few blocks from each other in Staten Island. Angela and John have 4 children and their ages all coincide with the ages of my brother, sister and I. So we are all very close. My parents are very good friends with Angela and John and Marie their youngest is my best friend. I can't begin to tell you about the memories that she and I have. We grew up together and have been through it all. I think I may have mentioned that growing up I was a very picky eater. Poor Angela. All the weekends (and weeks in the summer) that I spent at her house, being a picky brat. If only I knew all the things I was missing by being afraid to try things! Looks like this dish was one of them! Too bad it took me 29 years to figure that out. Better late than never, right?
I am so excited that I tried this dish and loved it. It gave me so many ideas for future recipes. Normally when I make soup I start with chicken stock and add some tomato product (sauce, paste, fresh chopped tomatoes, etc.) to give it a little pink color and some rich tomato flavor. Angela does it a little different. She starts with a marinara sauce and then adds pasta water until it's the consistency she likes. I've used pasta water before to make sauces or as a thickner but never like this. I thought that it would taste great with an addition of canellini beans, using any green you have on hand, as the base of a minestrone, etc. Thanks Angela for teaching me something new and opening me up to endless possibilities. Isn't it great that I'm no longer a picky eater?
Next time I will use two bunches of kale because I loved the flavor, I think that's what you should do too. Angela uses broken spaghetti in this dish which is great. I love making lentils like that too. Most Italian stores now carry bags of broken spaghetti so you don't have to do it yourself. If you'd like you can use any soup pasta such and tubettini, ditalini, small shells, etc.
To remove kale from the stem Angela says, "Take kale off the stem by placing your hand at the bottom of stalk,hold firmly, and with the other hand cupped around the bottom push to the top of the stem. The kale comes off easily." She's right, it was very easy!
Angela's Pasta with Kale
2 bunches kale, washed and leaves removed from the stems
1 pound broken spaghetti
Marinara Sauce, see below
1. Prepare Marinara sauce in a large pot. Later on you're going to add the kale and pasta to this pot so make sure it's big enough.
2. In another large pot boil kale for about 15 minutes in boiling salted water. Kale is ready when you can easily pierce it with a fork. Remove kale with a slotted spoon and put on a baking sheet to cool. Once it's cool, chop cooked kale into bite sized pieces and add it to the sauce. Stir to combine.
3. In the same pot that you cooked the kale, cook broken spaghetti until al dente. Ladle pasta plus some water into the sauce until it becomes a thick soup like consistency. Once you have all the pasta water you want to use already in the pot you can drain the rest of the pasta and add it to your sauce and kalem stir to combine. (Another way you can do this is drain the pasta and reserve some of the water and add it to the sauce - but I suggest the other way until you are familiar with how much water you want. You don't want to run into not having enough starchy pasta water)
4. Sprinkle in a couple of tablespoons of your favorite cheese (I love Romano) and mix it in. Dish into bowls and pass around more cheese if you like. (I like lots of cheese in my soup)
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
4 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion, diced
3 tsp chopped basil
1-2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar
extra virgin olive oil
Feel free to use fresh frozen or dried herbs. Sometimes I use the Italian Seasoning but this time I didn't because I didn't want it to overpower the flavor of the kale. It's a preference, it will be good either way.
Sweat onions in extra virgin olive oil and then add garlic in oil. Let it cook for a minute or to and then add crushed red pepper and frozen or dried herbs. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar. If using fresh herbs add now. Let it come to a boil and then lower heat. Cook on medium for 30-40 minutes. Taste it and adjust seasoning as needed.