Orecchiette With Tomato Sauce and Kale

I have been cooking with kale lately and decided it was time to add it into pasta. After reading tantalizing healthy recipes from Martha Rose Shulman in the New York Times, I decided to make a version of her orecchiette pasta with kale. The texture and adorable ear shape of orecchiette is fantastic and acts as a well for sauce. The garlic red wine tomato sauce, soft kale and flakes of lightly salty parmesean cheese is a great combination.

Adapted from The New York Times Martha Rose Shulman

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 jar of favorite pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup favorite red wine
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 pound curly green kale, stemmed and washed thoroughly
  • 12 ounces orecchiette
  • 1 ounce (1/4 cup) freshly grated Parmesan, pecorino Romano or a combination (more to taste)

1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a wide skillet or saucepan and add the garlic and red pepper flakes (optional). As soon as the garlic begins to smell fragrant (30 seconds to 1 minute), add the sauce, salt and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, add the red wine and cook until the mixture is thick and fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste and adjust seasoning.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add the pasta. Cook al dente, total 10 to 11 minutes, or according to the cooking directions on the package.  After 3 minutes have passed and at the 7 minute mark, add the kale to the pasta boil. Drain pasta and kale and toss with the tomato mixture right in the pan. Add the Parmesan, toss again and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Advance preparation: The tomato sauce and the blanched kale will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator and can be frozen. Don’t combine until ready to serve.

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