10 January 2011

Hearty Italian Pasta

I know, I know—pasta doesn't need to be dubbed Italian; we assume that. Be that as it may, I still like the name. I was chatting with Michelle last Friday and she mentioned that they were having her dynamite Zuppa Toscano because she still had the ingredients on hand, including kale. We gushed love of kale all over the phones in our hands, and in that moment I knew I needed kale for dinner. I had already planned a red-sauced pasta for the boys, so I hopped out of the car, ran into the store and picked up a few things to make it work: kale, cannelini beans, and corkscrew pasta. That last one was just for fun; normally I'd just use penne. All in all, it turned out well. Next time I'll add more cheese and probably more herb. I love herb, and I encourage you to use whatever you have that sounds good. I had both dried and fresh thyme, so I went there. This being the dead of winter, I'm guessing you're like me, and completely resigned to a few more months of dried, dead herb before the glories of spring.

Can it get here already?

Hearty Italian Pasta

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 can cannelini beans, drained
1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (that's the big can)
1 pound dried pasta
1 small bunch kale, chopped
4 oz. butter
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup grated pecorino cheese (or parmesan works too)
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, then continue cooking until onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add thyme and drained beans, and cook for 2-3 minutes more, being careful not to mush the beans too much. Put your pasta water on to boil, and add the tomatoes to the skillet with the onion/bean mixture. You're basically going to let the sauce cook and thicken while you cook the pasta. Easy-peasy. Shortly before the pasta is done, add the kale and butter to the sauce and stir well. Adjust seasoning.

Cook your pasta. When it's done cooking, nice and al dente, scoop about 1/2 cup of the cooking water into the sauce, then drain the pasta. Somehow get the pasta and sauce into the same cooking vessel. I have a giant skillet, so it worked in there for me. Cook and stir over medium heat to let everything work together. Adjust seasoning again, if necessary. Remove from heat and et it sit a few minutes to thicken. [I didn't do that, but half way through the meal when the sauce was thick and coating the noodles really well, I wished I had.] Add add cheese and parsley just before serving. Stir together and enjoy a hearty pasta meal.

1 comment:

Mom said...

Um, yummmmmmmmm.....