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a delicious comfort

January 10 2011 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Pasta,Recipe » 23 comments

Spaghetti with Braised Kale

And then, after all that fun in Austin, 2011 got down to business.  You know, the business of work, and the gym, and taking out the trash, and loads of laundry, and rides on the El.  The business, in other words, of life.  Throw in a woolen sweater, some heavy boots and a set of chapped lips and the picture is more accurate, or timely at least—the business of life in January.  And, while I know it’s customary to complain these heart-of-winter days away—wishing fervently for longer days and stronger sunshine and delicate, un-knobbly, in-season produce that grew above ground—I can’t help but appreciate the return of normalcy.

Spaghetti with Braised Kale

There’s a delicious comfort in it.

Speaking of delicious, a big part of returning to the everyday grind is a renewed reliance on that cache of standby recipes—the ones you make again and again, the ones you know by heart.  I’ve said this before, but these are often the recipes that never find their way to this site.  There are exceptions—we make this soup all the time, and we love this recipe for a meat-based dinner, and I eat this stew for lunch during most weeks, while Kevin snacks on this banana bread on many mornings.  But, for whatever reason, the great majority of our standby recipes—a quinoa salad is almost a weekly occurrence; a risotto, swirled with wilted greens and studded with bits of crisped chicken sausage, shows up at least one a week; a beef tenderloin serves as a frequent weekend night splurge, alongside a pile of these oven fries.

Spaghetti with Braised KaleSpaghetti with Braised Kale

One explanation, I suppose, is that at least half of the recipes on this site are sweet.  I can’t, in good conscience, eat bourbon vanilla bean ice cream or peanut butter pudding pie for dinner, much as I’d (and Kevin would) like to.  Beyond that, many of the recipes on this site are either too decadent or too labor-intensive (or, ahem, both) to qualify for a weeknight dinner.

Spaghetti with Braised Kale

So, in the spirit of January, I resolve to add more of those weeknight staples to the Recipe Index.  Starting today—with this recipe for whole wheat spaghetti with braised kale.  Have I lost you already, with the mere mention of whole wheat spaghetti?  If not, has kale scared you away?  I sure hope not, because I really think you’ll like this one.  It’s quick and deeply satisfying—hearty and earthy and lemony and garlic-y and spicy—especially on a winter weeknight.

Spaghetti with Braised Kale

Spaghetti with Braised Kale
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg for Bon Appetit

1 pound lacinato kale (about 2 bunches), large center ribs and stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
tablespoon olive oil
medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
kosher salt
red pepper flakes
pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 medium lemon

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Rinse kale. Drain; transfer to bowl with some water still clinging.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add sliced onion and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add sliced garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper flakes; cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add kale and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the juice of the lemon, cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally and adding water by teaspoonfuls if dry, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in medium pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add cooked spaghetti and 1/4 cup parmesan to kale mixture in pot; toss to combine, adding reserved liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry. Sprinkle spaghetti with additional grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

23 comments so far. »
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  1. Peter says on January 10 2011 at 8:38 pm:

    Love this rustic pasta dish. I’m gonna have to work kale in my pasta routine. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Whitney says on January 10 2011 at 9:01 pm:

    Oh man this recipe made me LOVE kale. I make this quite often.


  3. Monica says on January 10 2011 at 9:14 pm:

    This looks really tasty! Simple and easy – great for a weeknight. I’m just trying to estimate how much this makes – it probably serves 4? it seems like it would be better fresh, so I’d halve it to serve 2.

  4. Heather (Heather's Dish) says on January 10 2011 at 9:37 pm:

    i adore kale but have the hardest time getting the hubby to love it too…i think this might be the game-changer!

  5. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says on January 11 2011 at 2:27 am:

    To the contrary, the mention of whole wheat spaghetti and kale is exactly what peaked my interest! I like that this is a healthy but hearty pasta dish, perfect wintertime fare.

  6. Jessica @ How Sweet says on January 11 2011 at 3:23 am:

    I only usually like crispy kale but this looks darn tasty.

  7. Andrea [bella eats] says on January 11 2011 at 7:01 am:

    I know exactly what you mean. I have a list 2-weeks long of recipes that we make regularly that never make it on the blog. Mostly ugly, 1-pot meals that I can’t seem to get a decent photograph of. How unfair, right! I saw this recipe originally in Bon Appetit, and then on Whitney’s blog, and have had it in the back of my mind since. Thanks for giving me the push to try it out.

  8. Whitney says on January 11 2011 at 7:23 am:

    Andrea-Make it! It really is so very delicious. I make sure to use LOTS of lemon.

  9. kate says on January 11 2011 at 7:54 am:

    I want to like kale. It’s got such a wonderful personality and beckons to me with it’s nutrition, it’s dark green color and it’s earthy flavor but the few times we’ve met, there’s just been no connected. Then we came across each other in a dimly lit restaurant, and over several courses of a tasting menu, complete with copious glasses of wine, it showed me this ultra delicious side of itself, tender and flavorful and so amazingly delicious that i just couldn’t wait to sit down with it again and again.

    And thanks to this recipe, now I have something to do with it.

  10. Caroline Shields says on January 11 2011 at 8:16 am:

    Love the addition of the pepper flakes!

  11. Rachel says on January 11 2011 at 8:33 am:

    What a perfect, simply delicious and healthy recipe for the new year! As soon as I saw that beautiful bowl of noodles and green I knew I had to have some!

  12. b*schus says on January 11 2011 at 2:06 pm:

    I love the focus on weeknight meals! I can always use new ideas.

  13. Emily says on January 11 2011 at 5:06 pm:

    This is just what I need – weeknight dinners! Thank you, and stay warm.

  14. LimeCake says on January 11 2011 at 7:28 pm:

    I loved this recipe from the first time I tried it. I sometimes add crispy speck and it’s delicious, even for weeknights!

  15. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on January 12 2011 at 4:54 am:

    Thanks, all! Hip, hip for kale!

    Monica: The recipe serves four as a first course, two (large portions) as a main dish. I’ll update the post with this infomation. Thanks.

    Andrea: Yes–what Whitney said: Make it!

    Emily: Hi! Hope you’re doing well. xo.

  16. Nicole @ the dirty oven says on January 12 2011 at 6:59 am:

    What a great way to get in some greens. I love your idea of more weeknight meals.
    Thanks for sharing.

  17. laura @ alittlebarefoot says on January 12 2011 at 6:56 pm:

    i love kale with pasta! this looks delicious.

  18. nicole says on January 13 2011 at 11:41 am:

    Thank you! I am making this tonight — and am also enjoying a return to normalcy, *for real.* Happy new year!

  19. Taylor says on January 13 2011 at 8:36 pm:

    I just made this tonight! It was soooo good! Thanks for the yummy recipe!

  20. Fried Chickpeas with Sausage and Spinach « says on January 17 2011 at 7:58 pm:

    [...] want to write about those overlooked meals. I was inspired by a similar new years resolution from The Kitchen Sink Recipes that featured her version of an everyday recipe–spaghetti, kale, parmesan and red pepper [...]

  21. Julie says on January 18 2011 at 11:49 pm:

    Just the food I want to cook and eat. January is always such an in between month in terms of food for me (what I want to eat versus what I should be eating). This recipes is a perfect fit!

  22. Susan says on January 28 2012 at 9:23 pm:

    Delish! I only cooked it for 10 min, but it was GREAT! Thanks for another great one.

    I think you could substitute soy sauce for lemon juice, if so inclined. Then perhaps omit the salt. I’ll try it next time!

  23. […] want to write about those overlooked meals. I was inspired by a similar new years resolution from The Kitchen Sink Recipes that featured her version of an everyday recipe–spaghetti, kale, parmesan and red pepper […]

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