Bon Appétit: Spaghetti with braised kale

This is Marie, whose usual contribution to the culinary delights detailed in this blog is eating something on the menu different from what my husband ordered, so we can share. Today I am contributing a recent success in the “what can I make with whatever’s on hand” cooking technique. I happened to have some kale on hand and my original plan to use it was increasingly impractical with the change in the weather, so I searched for inspiration and decided that this recipe, available here, looked like a good candidate for experimentation.

I called over my guinea pig husband and he made positive noises so I put it on the “do soon” list. I am definitely interested in more interesting ways to use pasta since Monday is pasta day and as much as I love my basic spaghetti recipe, every so often one has to do something different. This is simple, quick, and very tasty. If the subject of kale hasn’t scared you off already but you still have some reservations, my vegetable-phobic stepdaughter took seconds, and wants to bring leftovers to school tomorrow for lunch (she didn’t, but the enthusiasm was still appreciated).

Kale was in the freezer; it had been waiting to be mashed into potatoes, but what with spring progressing as quickly as it has been, it seemed likely there would be no mashed potato weather again until this upcoming fall. Some may have noted that the recipe was from last October, but the recipe is definitely suitable for warmer days. Garlic we had in plenty due to a previous recipe, and needed to be used up as it had also noticed that spring had sprung. Onions are always on hand, as are various options in cheese. I kept the changes to a minimum. I decided it needed some chicken seared in my nice Italian spice mix. The kale cooked down very well, and though the recipe called for being exceedingly careful not to let it get too dry, that wasn’t too much of a challenge. Mind you, I used slightly more olive oil than called for. It’s a healthy fat, after all!

On a whim, and because the plates needed some color, I decided that the strawberries that were supposed to be for dessert would be on the dinner plates instead. That worked surprisingly well. This is a recipe that goes very, very well with sweet/sour flavors. A citrus salad or cranberry relish would also probably do well as a side.

Normally I do more to alter a new recipe, but in this case the original is so simple that it seemed better to fiddle with the sides. However, in the future I plan to try mushrooms and/or pine nuts, possibly with a dash of balsamic vinegar. My sister also mentioned an interesting variation on this theme, using spinach instead of kale.