Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kale and White Bean Pasta

It's that time of year where I'm getting really sick of kale. Here in Texas we can grow greens like kale, chard, collards, and mustard all winter. At the beginning of winter it's nice, but by spring I'm really eager for the first green beans, tomatoes, squash, and peppers of the year. You know, something different for a change!

But here's a little recipe I came up with by combining a bunch of other kale recipes I found online. It's vegetarian and uses a lot of kale in addition to any garlic, dried tomatoes, and beans you might have stored from growing them last year, or from your CSA, bought at the grocery store. My beans were from the grocery store, but the tomatoes and garlic were homegrown. The kale is from my CSA.

Kale and White Bean Pasta


  • Kale - a great big bunch (you want to cram in as much as you can in your skillet because it shrinks a lot when it cooks), or rapini, Swiss chard, or any other hearty winter green or combination of greens
  • Garlic - about 2-4 cloves (I actually used garlic I had dried from the last time I got a good crop of garlic, but fresh would be better.)
  • Olive Oil
  • White Wine
  • Elbow Macaroni - about 1 cup when uncooked (or penne, rotini, or other short pasta)
  • Cooked or Canned White Beans - about 1 can or 2 cups if you cooked them yourself
  • Dried Tomatoes - 1/2 cup, snipped into small pieces
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese

  • Start your pasta going so it will be ready when everything else is. Set the timer for the minimum amount of time it says on the package. You want the pasta to be slightly underdone, because it will cook the rest of the way when you mix it with the other stuff.
  • Put your dried tomatoes in a small bowl and put in just enough hot water to cover them. Let them sit and rehydrate. Remove tough midribs from kale and chop.
  • Warm olive oil in a skillet and add chopped garlic. When garlic starts to get golden, add chopped kale.

You should cram in enough kale so the pan is just about overflowing, because it shrinks so much as it cooks.

See? I told you!

  •  Saute the kale until it just starts to wilt and turn darker green. DO NOT OVERCOOK! You do not want the greens to get all mushy and turn from bright green to olive green. Yuck! When they look like the above picture, and are still bright and still pretty al dente, proceed to the next step.
  • Add cooked beans (and maybe leave some of the liquid in the beans when you add them), soaked tomatoes along with the soaking water (which will also be full of tomato goodness), and a splash of wine. By now your macaroni should be done, so drain that and add it in.
  • Stir it around just a little bit longer until the wine has reduced down a bit and the liquids have thickened, and everything is all mixed together, but again, be very careful not to overcook the greens or let the macaroni get mushy!

  • Salt and pepper to taste, and serve with plenty of Parmesan cheese, and maybe some more of that wine and some garlic bread.

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