This week on Fee SIMPLE Fridays: an easy recipe that you can actually manage to handle any night during the week (but especially on Fridays when you are exhausted after a long week!) Bonus: It’s a pasta that fills you up but doesn’t make you feel like you weigh 1000 lbs afterwards. LOVE.this.
Adapted (barely) from Healthy in a Hurry from Williams-Sonoma
1 box whole wheat pasta (I recommend Barilla Plus Thin Spaghetti)
1 bunch red chard and 1 bunch kale
4 TBSP olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 lemon wedge
sea salt (to taste), lemon wedges (to serve)
I’m sorry but just LOOK at these greens! I’m obsessed with the red stems of the chard.
I mean even the discarded stems look gorgeous! Don’t you love when your trash from cooking is just as lovely as the meal?? Swoon.
1. Cook pasta according to instructions on the box. While the water is coming to a boil, rinse and trim your greens of any brown parts. Remove the leaves from the stem (the easiest way to do this is just to rip it). I have found the easiest way to cut both chard and kale is the same way I cut basil (and it’s the same way advised in the original recipe)… Basically what you do is you stack as many leaves as you can manage (I would say no more than 5-10 depending on how wild they are!) and then roll them up into one long roll of leaves. Then, using your knife, cut them as thinly as possible… for a more rustic look, you can chop them more loosely after stacking/rolling. I would again rinse the leaves here using a colander/strainer just to get out any dirt that remained. Then allow them to drain well. Below are photos (sorry it’s a little blurry, still getting used to this new camera) on how to stack, roll and slice the kale and chard leaves. The first picture is chard stacked and rolled and second picture is kale chopped after being stacked and rolled.
2. Over medium heat, add 2 TBSPS of the olive oil in a large pan. Throw in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional minute until the garlic is fragrant (but stir so it does not brown!)
3. Add the greens into the pan and using a wooden spoon or pasta tongs, toss them around to evenly coat with olive oil/garlic/red pepper flakes. If there are too many greens to fit into your pan, do this step in batches to allow them to wilt before adding the next batch.
4. Once all of the greens have been added, cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the greens are tender but still have a little bite to them (al dente). If you are having an issue with sticking, you can feel free to add in a couple tablespoons of the pasta water to the pan. This may not be necessary, but I also like the flavor of pasta water :)
5. Drain the pasta in a colander, then throw into the same pan as the greens (this is why it’s good to have a really large pan!) I prefer adding the pasta in with whatever else it’s going with it as opposed to the other way around (the book suggests putting the pasta back in a warm pot then adding the greens). This method (pictured right) is how I was taught by my Italian host mother 8 years ago and have always done it this way since.
6. Add in the parmesan, 2 TBSPS of olive oil and stir. Squeeze 1/2 lemon into pasta and toss. Salt to taste with sea salt.
7. Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!
The Verdict: Absolutely amazing. Make this now, seriously. It’s cheap as anything (greens and pasta are pretty cheap for the amount you get!) and is so so simple. I love simple food that tastes clean and crisp. This really could be enjoyed in any season. Matt loves this dish and, as I’ve told you many many times before, he is Mr. Meat and Potatoes so for him to like it says a lot about this recipe! You could probably add some pancetta and it would still be delicious but I honestly think it would take away from how light the dish is and might make it a tad salty so I would adjust the parmesan and sea salt accordingly. I’ll keep it the way it is, but that’s a good way to incorporate some meat into it if you feel the need. Weigh in as the jury below!