Spaghetti with Kale, Pine Nuts and Parmesan

Friday, August 27, 2010

This is often a dish I make in winter when kale is at it's peek and bittery deliciousness, but I coudln't resist the gorgeous kale at the market and had to make it. This is a very simple recipe using only a few ingredients, so make sure those ingredients are fresh, good quality, and at their peek. No skimping on cheap Parmesan here -- pony up for the imported stuff please!

Spaghetti with Kale, Pine Nuts and Parmesan
1/2 pound spaghetti
1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped or ripped by hand
1/4 cup white onion, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 Tbsp fresh basil, roughly chopped
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
Parmesano-Reggiano for garnish
red pepper flakes for garnish (optional)

Cook spaghetti according to package instructions.

While the spaghetti cooks, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large saute pan. Saute the onions on medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. Be careful - kale has a lot of water in it and it will "pop" when introduced to the hot oil. Don't be afraid of it, just be ready for it. Once the kale has cooked down in volume and become wilted and soft, add the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the drained spaghetti directly in the kale mixture and toss with tongs, coating the spaghetti with the kale and olive oil. Add more oil if necessary. Top with pine nuts and toss again.

To serve, simply portion out the pasta and top with a very generous shaving of parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of pepper flakes if using. Serve hot.

My Notes:
I have the pepper flakes at the end because this way I can make this dish for my kids to eat as well, then top it with heat for me and The Hubsters. If you're making this for just adults, go ahead and add the pepper flakes right in with the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes so the heat will infuse better throughout the dish. Or omit it completely as well.

You can also use Romano cheese for the end. I use both equally when making this dish throughout the year.

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