Kale and Apricot Pasta

Phew, I made it through my first year of grad school.  Sorry I neglected you.  Grad school and research took a little more time (and brain power) than I expected.  Sure, I still cooked and tried new recipes, but there was little time for photographs, recipe-writing and quirky openings.  But now it’s summer and though I will be researching (I’ve got to pay the bills), there is far more time for cooking and blogging (Yay!).

Even more exciting is that my CSA (community supported agriculture) box has started again!  Okay, maybe not more exciting, but still exciting.  With the CSA I have lots of fresh, seasonal vegetables to use.  I also get stuck with some vegetables that are healthy, but that I don’t really like.  Yes, I’m talking about kale.

I know kale is supposed to be this superfood, but it’s just so…chewy.  I’ve tried to use it in soups, stews and sauces with little success.  They were edible, but also became those leftovers that I stuck in the back of the fridge and dumped out when my husband wasn’t looking.

Fortunately, I have succeeded in using kale  in a pasta dish.  The pasta was inspired from a entree at a local Italian restaurant (Pulcinella’s).  Bella Donna combines salty kalmata olive, toasted pine nuts, fresh olive oil and sweet raisins.  Raisins?  Yes.  They work beautifully to balance the salty and nutty flavors of the dish.  To replicate this nutty, salty and sweet flavor (and to get rid of some kale) I sautéed garlic, kale, walnuts, kalamata oilves and apricots.  (Trust me on the apricots, they’re perfect.  You could use raisins if you prefer.)  Threw in some pasta and devoured.  Now its your turn.  And again my apologies for my absence.

Kale and Apricot Pasta

1/2 lb spaghetti pasta 
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of kale (I prefer the curly kind), cut into long thin strips
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
salt and pepper to taste

Bring to boil a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta according to package directions.  Just before the pasta is done cooking, fill a coffee cup with some of the pasta water.

Meanwhile in a medium to large saute pan, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Thinly slice the onion and add to the pan, sauteing for 5 minutes.  Mince the garlic and add to the pan.  Saute 1-2 minutes and then toss in the kale.  Saute kale for 8-10 minutes and then add in the olives, apricots and walnuts.  Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Toss the pasta with the kale mixture.  Pour about 1/4 cup of the pasta water onto the mixture.  Stir to combine then serve.


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