Me & Hugh: Pasta with Greens, Garlic and Chilli

Mighty mighty kale! (photo by Ben)

Serves 4

  • 2-3 heads of spring greens or kale (approx. one large bag)
  • 6 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 300g pasta
  • Seasoning
  • Well-flavoured cheese

If there’s been one good thing to come out of my challenge to eat more vegetarian food, it’s a new found love of kale.

Before I started almost five months ago, I must admit I didn’t know much about the spiky cabbage and didn’t really eat many greens at all. However, with Hugh’s help, I’ve learnt to concoct kale and mushroom lasagne (which tasted great after a stint in the freezer too) and put it with leeks and coconut milk in a pseudo Sunday lunch side dish.

And it’s versatility doesn’t stop there, oh no. I found out this week that it goes brilliantly in a hearty and simple pasta dish, in the same way as you might use fellow vitamin-rich veggies, spinach or broccoli.

There’s basically nothing to it either. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onion over a low heat before adding the chilli, garlic and seasoning and cook for a few minutes. Then place the pasta in a pan of salted boiling water and cook until al dente.

Add the kale approximately three minutes from the end of cooking and when that’s done, drain the pasta and greens and toss both in the onion mixture. Whilst still warm add the cheese and oil and serve.

I’ll hold my hands up; this dish isn’t going to win any prizes for big flavours. The cheese is its main armoury and, whilst the soft wilted kale contrasts nicely with the al dente pasta, it doesn’t take the flavour of the garlic and chilli in the way spinach or broccoli might. But, bearing in mind the little it consists of, this pasta meal is worth its inclusion and very much part of the reason why kale is my new favourite vegetable.