Typically, I buy the large bag of chopped kale when I go to Wegmans. The bunches are often dirty and I do not like cleaning vegetables unless I have to. My aunt will buy bushels of vegetables, run home and clean them so that they are ready for the week. Before she departed for Florida, she dropped off what was left in her fridge: a head of perfectly cleaned cauliflower, the neatest, flatest, cleanest bunch of parsley I’ve ever used and about 40 containers of cherry tomatoes. She’s 72 years old, retired and, to borrow a phrase, crazier than an outhouse rat. She also doesn’t have The Kid running around making demands while I’m trying to cook.
So, bagged kale it is. The quality is high and I don’t have to deal with stems, bugs or dirt. I still give it a quick rinse before using it. The problem with Wegmans kale is the shear size of the bag. Sixteen ounces of kale is a lot of greenery and generally enough for two meals. So, on Monday we had barley stew. Today, pasta.
WHAT WORKED: The recipe itself is versatile and lends itself to scaling. Jess Thompson, whom I borrowed this recipe from, wrote it for one. I made it for three (two people for dinner; one leftover lunch).
WHAT DIDN’T: I may have misjudged the amount of pasta to use. I tossed the full pound in the water before actually thinking about how much spaghetti to make.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: Nothing. There was a lot of conversation at dinner tonight and none of it had to do with the pasta.
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes, but with less pasta and more of a sauce. I like mopping something up with bread, so maybe a ladle of pasta water and more lemon juice would do.
Spaghetti with kale, lemon and garlic
By Jess Thompson
- Spaghetti for one (a bundle about the diameter of a dime)
- 2 tbsp. good extra virgin olive oil
- 5 sprigs lacinato kale (droopy kale is fine), very finely chopped
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon wedge
- 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.
When the pasta is almost done, heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the kale, red pepper flakes to taste, and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir for 3 or 4 minutes, until the kale starts to get a bit crisp. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add drained pasta, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese, and stir to combine. Serve immediately.