We get cravings for pasta quite often, but we wanted something a little different than our typical tomato sauce based pasta, and we weren’t quite in the mood for a creamy pasta dish. Greens and beans over pasta would do the trick. You may select from a number of different greens for this recipe, but we chose kale because it looked the best in the grocery store. We were going to go with spinach, but for some weird reason there was no spinach on the produce shelves. None! Wanting to stay with fresh and not frozen, we selected the kale, and since we do not eat kale often (try never), we thought it was adventurous.
This meal smells good right from the beginning when you are adding the garlic and crushed red pepper to the hot olive oil. You inhale this delicious peppery scent, and it actually makes you want to add more red pepper just to make sure that smell continues.
As the garlic simmers and you begin to add the kale, the firm light green leaves with curly edges soften and turn a deep dark green, but then you add the white beans which brighten the greens up again. The chicken broth adds a hearty flavor, but can be replaced with vegetable stock for an all veggie meal. Then comes the wine vinegar which changes the smells completely and provides the perfect sweet and tangy smell, exactly what this bitter kale needs. We served it over thick ziti with grated fresh pecorino on top and everywhere in between. There were so many flavors, and they all stood out, none being overpowered by the other.
Sautéed Kale with Cannellini Beans over Pasta (adapted from Epicurious)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 large bunch kale (other greens will work too)
1 ½ cup (or more) low-salt chicken broth
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans rinsed, drained
1 teaspoon (or more) wine vinegar
Prepare greens by removing stems, and cutting into 2 inch strips. In large nonstick pan, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil, and add garlic and dried crushed pepper. Cook, stirring, until garlic is lightly browned. About 1 minute. Add greens and stir until greens begin to wilt, adding more as space allows, and coating with the olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper.
Add chicken broth, cover, and simmer until greens are just tender. Add beans and simmer until hot and almost all liquid is absorbed. Add vinegar, salt and pepper, and stir together. Serve over pasta (ziti worked well), with freshly grated parmesan or pecorino.