Cooking Together…Winter Pasta

After taking a break over Thanksgiving week, we decided to try out Winter Pasta from one of my favorite sites, 101 Cookbooks. Here’s the recipe:

Winter Pasta

I used penne here, but you can substitute whatever pasta you like. Spinach can be substituted for the kale if you like as well.

4 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 small shallots, peeled
1 small bunch of kale – 1/2 lb / 8 oz, stalks removed, washed well
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup / 2 oz goat cheese, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons + hot pasta water
fine grain sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
fresh lemon juice – optional
12 oz / 340 g dried penne pasta
fresh thyme – and thyme flowers

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water generously, and add the garlic and shallots. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stir in the kale and cook for another ten seconds. Don’t overcook. Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish the greens, garlic, and shallots from the water. Use a food processor to puree the ingredients along with the olive oil and goat cheese. Add a couple tablespoons of hot pasta water if needed to thin things out if needed. Then season with a touch of salt and plenty of black pepper. Taste. Depending on your goat cheese, you might need a little extra acidic oomph if your sauce is a bit flat. If so, add fresh lemon juice a bit at a time until you’re happy with it the sauce. Set aside.

Reheat the pot of water and boil the pasta per package instructions. Drain and toss immediately with the green sauce. Serve topped with a few pinches of fresh thyme, and more crumbled goat cheese.

Serves 4-6.

My thoughts on this week’s recipe:

Ease of preparation:
This was a quick, easy dish to make.

Overall opinion:
I thought this was good. I always love finding new ways to use my kale, spinach, etc. that shows up in my CSA box each week.

Kid friendly? Kid’s thoughts:
We didn’t get a chance to have Charlotte try this dish. I definitely want to have her try it next time I make it though, because pasta usually goes over pretty well with kids, and it would be a great way to get some vegetables in her!

Husband’s thoughts:
He liked it!

Would you have it again:
We would. I think the next time I get some kale in my CSA box, I’ll definitely make this.

Did you omit anything?
We didn’t top it with thyme…just because we were being lazy and it was raining…we didn’t want to go out in the rain to grab some thyme from our mini herb garden.

Did you add anything?
Nope.

How did you serve it?
Topped with some crumbled goat cheese and some fresh, ground pepper.

Would you change anything next time:
This time I made it with spinach, but I would definitely like to try it with kale.

Our fresh spinach, which I used in the dish.

General Comments:
I used whole wheat rigatoni and spinach instead of kale. Right after I mixed up the sauce I wasn’t too sure about the taste…it seemed like it had too much bite to it. Maybe too much garlic or shallots? But it seemed to mellow out by the time we sat down to eat it a little later. It also kept well for leftovers, which is always a plus.

Dinner is served!

Stay tuned for our recipe for next week…

If anyone else tried the Winter Pasta, please share your thoughts in the comments…I’d love to hear them!

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