Kale and kale recipes

Mom brought us some red and white kale seeds at Christmas and I planted them in seed trays in the green house in February.  I transplanted them to the garden the first of March.  As my palate goes, I had always put kale in the chard family and thought I did not like it.  Mom kept raving about it and she used a lot in soups this winter before her plants totally froze out.

This variety (whatever it is) is beautiful.

I decided to finally pick some and found a lot of great recipes.  The first one that caught my eye was Bon Appetit’s “Spaghetti with Olives, Kale and Cherry Tomatoes.”   I came home Monday night and whipped up my version:

Whole Grain Pasta with Pancetta,  Olives, Kale and Cherry Tomatoes

2 oz. chopped pancetta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced, divided
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper, divided
3 packed cups of chopped kale
coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper
13.25 oz. whole grain spaghetti
2/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
30 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped

Fry pancetta in a large nonstick skillet until crisp (about 2-3 minutes).  Add 1 T. olive oil.  Add 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper; stir 15 seconds. Add kale and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Toss kale until wilted, about 4 minutes.

Wilting the kale with pancetta drippings.

Transfer to medium bowl.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.  Set aside.

In the pasta cooking pot (that has been drained of the spaghetti and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid), heat 2 T. oil and 4 minced garlic cloves over medium-low heat. Add drained pasta to garlic oil in pan; toss to coat. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, cooked kale and olives.  Toss to coat and cook until heated through, adding pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Add tomatoes and oregano. Toss to incorporate evenly, adding more cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

I shaved some fresh-from-the-garden radishes on top.

I also think that the kale itself, sauteed with a bit of pancetta, would make an awesome side dish.

Last night the hubby was working late so I was by myself for dinner.  I decided to try another recipe that I had found interesting:  “Tuscan Kale Chips” (also from the Bon Appettit site).  These are super easy to make and, to my surprise, they are delicious!  I actually had some soup defrosted but ended up making a meal of these instead.

These chips are crips and delicious.

Simply toss the kale leaves with olive oil and salt and pepper and bake in a 250 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Other kale recipes I found and want to try are Braised White Beans with Chard(and substitute the kale for the chard) and Sauteed Kale.

So, the verdict is that I think I like the kale just as much as I found I liked chard.



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