17 September 2012
Kale and olive aglio e olio
Lately, even though it's still mostly summer here in CA, my brain has been making a beeline for the fall produce. This time, I had a big bunch of excellent sturdy kale hanging out in the crisper. Why not make it the centerpiece of a fast and easy pasta?
In a standard aglio e olio, pasta gets drenched in a beautiful spicy garlicky olive oil and garnished with grated parmesan. I took this a step or two further, adding green olives and slivered red pepper along with my kale. The result was a perfect quick lunch--full of hearty greens and pungent with olives and garlic.
Kale and olive aglio e olio
lots o' kale
pasta of your choice
parmesan/etc for garnish
First, get out a wide saute pan and warm several good glugs of olive oil over medium heat. Since the oil will be your sauce base, use a little more oil than you'd normally add to a marinara.
At the same time, heat your pasta water. I bring mine to a boil, covered, turn off the heat, and leave the hot pot on the back burner until it's time to cook the pasta. That way, when you turn the heat back on, the pot will come back to a boil almost instantly. Cooking tricks for the win!
So. Smash, peel, and mince several cloves of garlic, and add them to the warmed olive oil. Adjust the heat down a touch, so the garlic sizzles gently and slowly in the oil. This will infuse the oil with delicious garlic flavor.
After giving the garlic and oil about five minutes to infuse, grab a handful of olives, chop them up, and add them to your pan. I used standard small green olives stuffed with pimiento from the big martini-making jar in our fridge door. However, you can use whatever kind of olives you like. I think black nicoise olives would be really good with the kale, for instance.
Let your olives and garlic cook slowly in the olive oil while you wash, destem, and roughly chop your kale. I used about 2/3 of a bunch for just me, but more greens are always better. GREENS!
Add your kale to the pan along with a sprinkle of salt. Turn up the heat a bit, stir, and cook for about five minutes. This is also a good time to start boiling any kind of chunky or thick pasta you may be using.
Core and slice a red (or orange, or yellow) pepper. When your kale is tender, add your chopped pepper to the pan. Stir and cook for another two to three minutes, or until your peppers are cooked through. Season the pan to taste.
When your pasta is done, drain it and add it to the pan of vegetables. Toss everything together and let it sit over the lowest heat for a minute while you wash the pasta pan. This will let the oil absorb into the pasta a bit.
Serve, adding grated parmesan if you so desire.
Now eat your lunch in good health and good conscience.
What are some of your favorite fall lunches?