Whole wheat spaghetti with kale and pistachios

All hail kale

Originally appeared in the October 25, 2012 edition of the Southside Times.

One of my favorite combinations is kale tossed with pasta; and to further accent the health benefits the aforementioned member of the cabbage species, I’ve selected whole wheat spaghetti for this week’s installment.  This is an ideal time for this sort of dish—it’s hearty yet healthy, savory and full of flavor.  The pistachios add a touch of crunch and a salty hint of bitterness.

Because the kale is so sturdy, I recommend tearing out the center rib before slicing.  When it comes to slow-steaming the leaves, you want to make sure you soften the kale without overcooking it, as overdoing it will not only damage the color but (like most heat-abused vegetables) deteriorate the nutritional value.  That being said, there is some research indicating that some varieties of this species of kale can withstand steaming and other gentle cooking techniques with little to no detriment to tis nutritional composition.

Use chicken stock or water to sloe-steam the kale.  And of course, if you’d like to make a switch with the butter, you can simply substitute olive oil.  Garnish with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a scatter of pistachios, and you have a pasta dish ideal for a brisk October evening.

Whole wheat spaghetti with kale and pistachios

Serves 2

  • 5 – 6 large leaves of kale, center ribs removed a leaves sliced
  • Roughly 8 fluid ounces low-sodium chicken stock
  • 6 – 7 ounces whole wheat spaghetti (or pasta of choice)
  • 1 clove garlic, rough chop
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • As needed, grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons shelled, rough-chopped pistachios
  • To taste, kosher salt and cracked black pepper

1.  Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large sauté pan; add kale and toss in hot oil to coat sliced leaves.  Add 2 – 3 ounces of chicken stock, lower heat to a simmer, and cover pan.  Repeat this process by stirring and adding stock to gently steam the kale until tender (you may not need all the stock).

2.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook pasta to al dente.  Drain well.

3.  Once tender and liquid has completely evaporated from pan, remove kale and reserve.  IN same pan, melt butter slow and allow to brown slightly.  Add crushed red pepper and garlic.  Once garlic is aromatic, pour in pasta and coat in butter; add kale and toss to coat.  Stir in parmesan.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  At service, garnish plates with chopped pistachios.

Published in: on October 27, 2012 at 7:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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