Monday, January 17, 2011

Pasta with Kale and Bacon

Don't faint!  I know this isn't Asian.  Hey, I never said this was an exclusively Asian food blog, even though it's what I like to cook the most.  I've been passing up many kinds of large-leafy vegetables such as kale in the grocery store, always wondering what to do with them.  Finally, I decided to give kale a shot.  Kale is usually sold in a large bunch.  It has very large crinkly leaves and very stiff stocks.  I found out on the internet that you have to boil kale leaves for at least 10 minutes to soften up.  They don't wilt down say, like, spinach would.  It has a stronger flavor than your average lettuce, and it's very delicious.  Give it a try!

Pasta with Kale and Bacon


handful of penne pasta
2 strips of bacon
2 large leaves of kale, rinsed well
3 Tbsp. minced red onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
1/3 c. chicken stock
herb seasoning of choice
shredded cheese (mozzarella or parmesan)

Heat two pots of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt to each.  Add the pasta to one pot and cook according to package directions.  Al dente pasta is best.  Drain when done.  (If your pasta is done before you're ready to put it in the pan with the other ingredients, put the drained pasta back in the pot, add a little olive oil, and stir to coat.  This prevents the pastas from sticking to one another.)

Cut the stalks from the kale leaves and discard.  Roughly chop the kale leaves and add to the other pot of boiling water.  Boil the kale for at least 10 minutes, or until the leaves are soft.  Drain, then fill the pot with cold water.  Put the drained kale back into the pot to stop the cooking, then drain again.

Heat a dry pan over medium heat, and add the bacon.  Cook until crispy, then drain the bacon on paper towels.  Discard all but about 2 tsp. of the bacon grease.  When the bacon is cool, crumble into pieces.

Heat the bacon grease and add the minced onion and garlic.  Cook until the garlic is browned and the onions are softened. 

Squeeze the excess liquid from the kale and add to the pan.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Continue to boil until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed. 

Add the pasta to the pan and stir to combine.  Sprinkle with herb seasoning and stir.

To serve, put the pasta and kale on a plate.  Top with bacon bits and sprinkle with cheese.

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