January 5, 2011

Learning to Love Kale

Kale can be kinda gross and crazy bitter.  But when you cook it for eons with some caramelized onions and garlic, kale becomes so tasty.  Add some sausage in there and it can't get much better.  This recipe is loosely based on the concept from a Bon Appetit article and recipe.  The author was explaining how she learned to like kale, and well, she got me to like kale.  So much so that I have been planning other kale recipes. 

Kale and Sausage Spaghetti
3 Italian sausages (we used hot, feel free to use mild or sweet)
2 bunches of black kale, stems removed and given a rough chop
3 T. olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1 t. red pepper flakes (optional)
1-2c. chicken stock
2 t. lemon juice
1 lb. spaghetti

Remove the casings from the sausages and start browning them in the bottom of a saucepan or small dutch oven if you have one using a wooden spoon to break them up while cooking.  While the sausage is browning, dice the onions and slice the garlic.  And yes.  Really use 8 cloves.  I promise you won't reek of garlic after one bite.  It's going to cook for a while and become deliciously sweet.   When the sausage is finished, remove and let drain on a paper towel.  I had about 3T. of fat from the sausage, so I didn't use the olive oil.  Throw the onions, garlic, pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt into the pan and cook until everything is really well caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Add the kale in small bunches, adding more as it cooks down.  Once all the kale is in the in the pot, pour in about 1/2 c. chicken stock and let cook covered.  Check every five to ten minutes and add more chicken stock as needed to cook the kale.  Once the kale is dark and wilted (taste it - it should be a little sweet), add back the sausage, add in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix with cooked spaghetti and serve with Parmesan cheese.

You can leave the sausage completely out of this recipe, just start with the olive oil and onions and it makes an excellent side dish to some steak.  It's also very good with whole wheat pasta, we just didn't have any.  I first made this pasta and didn't cook the kale nearly long enough and it was still crunchy.  So this time I was patient and made sure to cook it long enough.  It needs to cook for a good thirty minutes, if not longer, until its lost most of its' bite and is beginning to get sweet.  The sausage makes a perfect compliment to the kale and a very filling dinner.  We had enough left over for two lunches!  This recipe has opened my eyes to all of those bitter greens...kale, collards, and turnip greens could be popping up on here much more often!

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