Friday, November 7, 2008

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Lets face it, I'm obsessed with Kale. Kale is an odd leafy vegetable that probably makes most people want to cringe at just the thought of eating it. But! Did you know, these leafy greens are packed with two-thirds of your daily Vitamin C, all of your Vitamin A, calcium, iron, antioxidants and flavor. Yes, flavor! But, coming from LA, I can't help but use enhancers. Kale loves garlic, lemon juice and salt. The salt and lemon juice tame the bitter nuance of the kale while the garlic simply adds to the rustic vibe of the dish.

Kale & Roasted Walnut Pasta has become my go-to dinner for any work-week night. It's healthy, satisfying, delicious and easy to make. Not to mention, it includes several super foods that do a body good. There are quite a few varieties of Kale, but I tend to use a variety of black kale, Laciniato, every time. When buying Organic Kale, look for a rich green color with no wilting, brown spots or yellow leaves.  Make sure to wash it well and slice into 1/4'' ribbons. I find if it isn't sliced thin the Kale is tough to chew and doesn't look very appetizing. The type of pasta you use can also make a difference. I like to use the Sprouted Wheat pasta from Trader Joe's. Quinoa or Brown Rice are also solid substitutions if you don't eat pasta or live life gluten free. You could also substitute the Kale with Broccollini or Rabini. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Rustic Kale & Roasted Walnut Pasta
About 8 oz Whole Wheat Pasta (I love Trader Joe's Sprouted Wheat Pasta as it adds to the rustic feel of the dish, but really any pasta of your choice will work)
3 Tbsp. Walnut Oil (Olive Oil is great as well)
4 cloves garlic
2 Cups of Ribbon Sliced Kale
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Sea Salt to taste
1 C Roasted Walnuts
1/4 C Parmesan Cheese ( I prefer to grate my own )

Boil the pasta in a large pot until Al Dente.

While the pasta is cooking, chop the garlic and Kale.  In a braising pan, on medium heat, heat the Walnut Oil and Garlic for about a minute then add the Kale, 1 tbsp Lemon Juice & salt to taste (about 2 pinches). Let them cook together for about 5 minutes until the kale becomes a vibrant green (lemon juice also helps create this color). Turn off the heat.

Drain the cooked pasta, reserving a 1/4 Cup of pasta water, and toss pasta with the kale and garlic in the braising pan. Transfer this 1/4 Cup of pasta water to the Kale and pasta mixture, let them harmonize for a couple of minutes. Next, pour in the Cup of Roasted Walnuts. Put Kale dish in a large serving bowl and toss in the 1/4 Cup of Parmesan Cheese.  If you have any leftover roasted walnuts, you can chop these up and top off the dish.  Depending on my mood I may add more or less cheese; it's up to you and your preferences.

Serves about 4... or in my situation, covers lunch & dinner for the next day.


Anonymous said...

You make it sound so delicious.  What a great idea.

Lisa Engel said...

Thanks Mom :)

Michael said...

I actually had kale in a light dinner Lisa made. Deeeeee-lish.

Giambattista said...

It sounds really good (and this is a compliment by a true Italian pasta expert!)

We should have a cooking night at my place with Ale and a few friends in Dec.

Lisa Engel said...

Great idea! just say when :-)... maybe we can test my homemade gnocchi

E. Chloe Lauer said...

Hi Lisa!
Great meeting you today.
I love how you talk about what to look for in Kale, your favorite variety, possible substitutions, and the nutrient value of kale - very inspiring! I'll have to try this dish with my quinoa pasta. :)