Here is a super easy pasta dish that has a lot of flavor from the garlic chips. You can see I added a generous helping of bacon Autumn’s Harvest Farm, but if you’re a vegetarian or eschew bacon keep reading for the vegetarian variation. Our CSA shares have huge bunches of greens, the kale is much larger than what you’ll find in a grocery store. I used about half of a bunch of kale in this recipe, and 1/2 a 12 oz bag of pasta. My version is heavy on the greens, but if you’d prefer more of a pasta base, adjust the ratio accordingly. Start by breaking down the kale, chop if finely so it’s in nice bite size pieces.
Crisp the bacon while you boil a large pot of salted water. The salt in the cooking water will flavor the pasta and kale, so add enough to make the water very salty, I added a tablespoon. When the bacon is crisp remove from the pan, and drain all but one tablespoon of bacon grease. Add the olive oil and crisp the garlic. If you’re skipping the bacon, just crispy the garlic in the oil. Save the oil after you remove the garlic. The pasta gets a lot of the flavor from this oil, so don’t skimp on the garlic. Peeling the garlic is probably the most time consuming part of this recipe and it’s so worth it. Cook the kale with the pasta, add to the pot during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
Drain the pasta, and toss with the reserved oil directly in the pan you cooked the bacon and garlic in. Add the pasta water and feta, tossing gently. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary, keeping in mind the bacon will also have a salty flavor. Top with bacon and garlic. Serve with extra feta if desired.
Garlic Kale Pasta
6 – 8 oz pasta
1/2 bunch (or less if desired) kale, stems removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
6 -8 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 lb or more bacon, sliced crosswise into lardons
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt + pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is boiling crisp the bacon. When the bacon is crisp, drain all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat and add olive oil to the pan. Increase heat to medium high. Crisp garlic in the hot oil, watch the garlic carefully. Remove garlic and reserve oil in the pan for tossing pasta in.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Add kale at the last two minutes of cooking, or 3 minutes if you prefer softer kale. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss pasta and kale in the oil with feta and pasta water. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Top with bacon and kale.
Vegetarian version. Omit bacon, crisp garlic in 1/cup olive oil and follow directions as written.
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