Spinach and rapini have always been my friends, especially in the past few years when my palate grew to appreciate the different ways I could use these two leafy vegetables. I was starting to get a little bored of them both, so I decided to dive deeper into the world of leafy greens and try to use kale in a dish. So, you’re probably wondering how I call myself a vegetarian if I’ve never bought kale before! Well, I am so glad I finally did because I think I found my new favourite leafy green! My apologies to my friend Mr.Rapini but I think I’m going to be seeing a lot more of Mr.Kale from now on….mmmm.
As an online recipe hunter, I found out that there are quite a few ways to make kale but I was craving a dish similar to one of my Italian favourites, pasta with rapini. I combined concepts from a few recipes and came up with the recipe below. I REALLY enjoyed it and I had it for dinner and also for my lunch the next day! I hope you will like it too! Please comment on my post and let me know how it turns out for you.
Spaghetti with Spicy Kale and Garlic
Preparation time : 5 min
Cooking time: 30 mins
Servings: 4 (approximately)
500 g pack of dried spaghetti
Half a bunch of kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped (or more if you want a stronger garlic flavour)
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chilli flakes (or to taste)
1/2 cup of vegetable stock
Salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (the fresh kind, not the pre-grated powdery stuff!)
Bring a large pot of fresh water to a boil. Add 3 teaspoons of salt and add the spaghetti. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spaghetti is al dente, approx. 8 to 10 minutes (or cook to your preference). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, chilli flakes and sautee for a few minutes until the onions are soft, stirring often. Take care not to burn the onions! Raise heat to high, add the vegetable stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Check the texture of the kale at this point. If you want it to be softer in texture, you may want to add a 1/4 cup of water to the pan, put the lid back on and cook it for a few more minutes. When it reaches the desired texture, season with salt and pepper to taste and add the balsamic vinegar. Mix well and reduce heat to low.
Add spaghetti to the saucepan with the kale in it, add a 1/4 cup of the pasta water and toss to combine. Check and adjust salt and pepper if needed. If the pasta mixture seems a bit dry, feel free to add a little more pasta water. Plate and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top (again, the fresh kind, not the pre-grated powdery stuff!).