Reprinted from Blue Apron
We’re taking Italian food back to its seasonal roots. Before grocery stores and large-scale farming, most people ate what was fresh from the garden. In the colder months, hearty kale varieties (like Lacinato) thrived throughout Italy. We’re using this delicious, healthful vegetable along with red walnuts (another winter treat) to create a warming pasta dish full of the diverse flavors of winter. Topped with Pecorino, a timeless, aged sheep’s milk cheese, this dish takes tradition to new heights.
Makes 2 servings; about 700 calories per serving
Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Peel and mince the garlic cloves; using the flat side of your knife, smash until they resemble a paste. Remove and discard the kale stems; roughly chop the leaves. Using a peeler, remove the yellow rind of the lemon; mince the rind to get two teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter the lemon and remove the seeds. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Roughly chop the walnuts.
Heat a large, dry pan on medium-high until hot. Add the walnuts and toast, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the pan.
In the same pan used to toast the nuts, heat one-third of the butter and one teaspoon of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the garlic paste. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant and golden brown. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown and toasted. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Wipe out the pan.
Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until just shy of al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserve three-quarters of a cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta thoroughly. Set aside.
While the pasta cooks, in the same pan used to make the garlic breadcrumbs, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the kale and quarter cup of water, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until the kale has wilted.
To the pan of onions and kale, add the lemon zest, remaining butter, pasta, the juice of two lemon wedges (you will have extra), half cup of the reserved pasta water, two-thirds of the Pecorino cheese and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. (If the sauce seems dry, add the remaining pasta water until you achieve your desired consistency.) Divide the pasta between two dishes. Top with the garlic breadcrumbs, remaining Pecorino and toasted walnuts. Enjoy!