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Kale pasta with parmesan and toasted breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 pound small shapes pasta, such as shells, rotini, farfalle, etc.
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed juice
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, stems trimmed and rough chopped (lacinato, russian or winterbor varieties can be used)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente. Reserve pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a wide, deep skillet (big enough to hold the cooked pasta as well) over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter, and when butter has melted and has a nutty fragrance, add breadcrumbs. Toast until golden, about 4 minutes. Remove breadcrumbs to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, melt remaining butter. Add kale, plus a pinch each sea salt and pepper, and sauté until kale is wilted and supple, about 5 minutes. Fold in lemon zest and juice, cooked pasta, and Parmesan. Add a few tablespoons of pasta water as needed to thin consistency. Top with toasted breadcrumbs, finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan and a pinch of pepper, and serve.