Favorite Kale PastaTo put it mildly, I’m bonkers about this dish. Obsessed may be a more appropriate description. It’s my trusty, well-loved, go-to recipe, Kale and White Bean Pasta.

Here’s what makes it amazing:

  1. It’s made with just 10 ingredients, 5 of which you probably already have in your pantry — but it’s a cinche to have all 10 on hand.
  2. It’s quick and super simple to make and the flavors are rich, savory and satisfying. Give yourself 20 minutes and you’ll have dinner on the table.
  3. Kale, as described in a recent Splendid Table story, “…is everyone’s love child right now.” If you’re not hooked yet but want to be, especially because you know it’s so darn good for you, this is the recipe for you.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 to 2 bunches kale of any kind (If you’re harvesting from your garden collect 2 generous handfuls or one colander full.)
  • 2 – 4 cups cooked cannellini beans
  • 1 lb pasta (penne is a good choice)
  • 1 – 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots (optional)
  • olive oil
  • fresh ground salt & pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • goat cheese/chevre
  • 1 lemon

Here’s what you do:

  • De-rib kale, coarsely chop then place in a bowl of water to wash and hydrate.
  • Put pasta water on and bring to a boil.
  • While water is heating mince the garlic and shallots.
  • Pre-heat skillet with generous portion of olive oil. Add garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Saute until garlic and shallots are slightly translucent.
  • Add beans and more red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Mix well. I like to cook the beans until they look and smell as if they’ve taken on the flavor of the garlic and spices but turn down the heat if they start to look pasty.
  • The water should have come to a boil and the pasta cooking by the time your beans are in your skillet. This is when I set the table, pour more wine and prep the lemon and cheese.
  • Cut the lemon into wedges or 1/4 wedges and crumble or cut the goat cheese into cubes.
  • 2 minutes or so before the pasta is done cooking add the kale to the white beans and saute. Again, add another dash or two of red pepper flakes, maybe a tiny bit more salt – or not – but definitely pepper , usually more olive oil and stir. Add more kale if you have it (whatever will fit in the pan). Pull the kale off the heat once it turns bright green and looks softened.
  • Strain pasta and serve, placing the kale over the pasta.
  • Garnish with cheese and freshly squeezed lemon to taste.

I don’t always use shallots when making this dish but I do always use garlic. The amount of garlic I add depends upon who’s going to eat it as well as the strength of the garlic. I typically add canned beans but sometimes cook my own, either is fine. If I’m in the mood for beans or have a load of kale I use 4 cups of beans but 2 cups will give it the flavor and protein you’re looking for. Try substituting pasta for another, favorite grain or even potatoes but don’t skimp on the lemon. Or the red pepper flakes, for that matter.

This recipe is modified from one I received with my Mountain Bounty Farm share years ago. If I remember correctly, it was their interpretation of a Deborah Madison or Alice Waters recipe. Either way, it’s delicious. Make it your own and pass it on.

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