Pasta with Fennel, Kale, and Lemon
Have I ever told you guys just how much I love pasta? Actually, love isn’t a strong enough word to convey my feelings towards this food group. Obsessed is better. Whole wheat pasta, fresh pasta (even chickpea pasta), dried pasta, you name it. I don’t even want to know how many pounds of pasta I’ve consumed over the years. Actually, that thought is a bit frightening now that I think about it. Let’s move on…
It has been far too long since I shared a normal, everyday pasta recipe with you. This most likely has to do with the fact that the pasta dishes I cook most often are totally just thrown together. I mean, sometimes we have a plan–i.e. tomato sauce, pesto, etc. But I can’t even tell you the last time I’ve actually written anything down. I’m usually more concerned, at that point, with the eating part of the equation.
In fact, the following sentence escapes my lips almost every time I’m asked to explain how I made some pasta dish or sauce… “You have to feel [insert ingredient here]’s presence.” [Connor rolls his eyes every time I say that.] I know…I sound like an old lady. But that’s sort of how I cook pasta dishes around here.
And if you weren’t already aware, I’m also a total pasta topping snob. As in, if you don’t have the proper cheese to top pasta with (and by that, I mean Parmigiano-Reggiano. Grana Padano at the very least..perhaps Romano or Pecorino, depending on the dish), don’t even bother to make it. I told you I was a snob. Of course, that rule doesn’t apply with any type of seafood pasta. Because to Italians, that’s blasphemy. [But I have caved and done this on more than one occasion. Testament to my love of cheese.]
This dish combines sauteed onion, fennel, lacinato kale, lots of garlic, some red pepper flakes, and is finished with a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It’s simple, but delicious. It is the kind of meal that can be made in the amount of time it takes to bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta. That’s always nice, right?
Once sauteed, the fennel begins to lose some of its stronger anise flavor and becomes much sweeter. The kale adds a touch of bitterness–and the lemon juice brightens up the entire dish. I finished each plate with a drizzle of chili pepper oil (you can buy it or make your own–using the note in the recipe!), fennel fronds, and a large handful of cheese. More importantly, I wrote it all down this time. Enjoy!
Yield: 3-4 Large Servings Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes Chile oil is available at Whole Foods and other grocery stores--or make your own by lightly heating a cup of olive oil with one tablespoon red pepper flakes.
Pasta with Fennel, Kale, & Lemon
Yield: 3-4 Large Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Chile oil is available at Whole Foods and other grocery stores--or make your own by lightly heating a cup of olive oil with one tablespoon red pepper flakes.