I was excited to find a local farmer who grew tuscan kale (aka black kale, dinosaur kale, lacinato kale, etc). Unlike the kale you find in the grocery store, its leaves don't curl up like crazy at the ends. This kale reminds me more of swiss chard. I'll put in a shameless plug for this local farmer, check out this page for Red Hill Farm's produce and other information. If you're looking for quality Italian produce, this is your guy.
So back to the kale. I was excited to find it locally so that I could try this spaghetti with braised kale, a recipe I've had marked for a couple years. This recipe takes some prep work, as does nearly anything that utilizes leafy greens, but is fairly simple and quick once everything gets going. While I'm not sure that I did the best job of braising the kale, the dish still had a great taste and both Drew and I agreed that we'd like it again. The garlic and lemon nicely complement the kale and everything comes together for a lovely, "light" meal. I say light because for some reason it doesn't seem heavy but it's pasta so it has to be heavy, right? Sigh. Either way, it's darn good, and I enjoyed it in the heat of summer, but am sure it's warming on a cold evening too.
If you're not scared of leafy greens, try this, and if you're like Molly Wizenberg was, a skeptic, try this too. You may find a new favorite dish.
Spaghetti With Braise Kale
from Molly Wizenberg and Bon Appetit, October 2009
1 pound lacinato kale (about 2 bunches), large center ribs and stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 pound spaghetti
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Finely grated Parmesan cheese
Rinse kale. Drain; transfer to bowl with some water still clinging.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add sliced garlic and sprinkle with salt; cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add kale and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes. 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 to kale mixture in pot. Add lemon juice and 2 tablespoons reserved cooking liquid; toss to combine, adding more liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry. Sprinkle spaghetti with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.