25 Oct Autumn Sun: Seasonal Kale + Leek Pasta Recipe
It’s been a treat of an autumn so far. The weather’s been warm and we’ve been spoilt with golden sunshine. There’s a definite feeling that these days need to be savoured. They need to be made the most of before the winter takes a firmer grip. What better way to relish autumnal warmth than a bowl of sustaining pasta, packed with seasonal kale and leeks?
Sometimes kale receives a bit of bad press and I think I understand why. Who hasn’t opened up a pack from the supermarket, only to be greeted with that familiar scent of school dinner cabbage? I am here to make the case for kale! It’s so tasty and super nutritious… Plus, it’s very budget friendly too.
If you don’t believe me or need to convince some sceptical family members… Take some leafy Cervelo Nero or Red Russian, remove the stalks and simply massage with some good olive oil. It softens the kale and makes it irresistible. A little seasonal and get them to try a few leaves. They will be converts!
This pasta dish is completely vegan-friendly. I grabbed some plant-based parmesan whilst in town the other week. It can obviously be easily switched out for dairy if desired. The creamy sauce is created without the use of cream at all. Instead, the starchy pasta water emulsifies with the cheese to create a velvety coating.
One more big plus, it’s all done in one pan. Less washing up is always a good thing and it’s good for the energy bills.
Let me know how you get on with this recipe.
- I’m not too fussy about which sort of kale I use. Curly is great, Carvalho Nero makes it sound a bit posh. My tactic is to grab whichever I see first in the grocers or whatever has been yellow-stickered in the supermarket.
- 350g pasta – Orecchiette is good. I found some Gemelli on offer so went for that.
- 2 leeks – Washed and chopped
- Bunch of kale – Cut the stalks out and roughly chop
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
- Put a large pan, suitable for the amount of pasta we’re cooking, over a low heat with a good glug of olive oil. Add the leeks, some salt and pepper and the garlic. Now pop the lid on the pan and let cook for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally whilst cooking. Once the leeks go super soft and almost gooey, remove them from the pan and set aside.
- Now the leeks are out of the pan, use it to bring some water to a boil. Make it salty like the sea and add the pasta. Cook for around 7 minutes, then add the kale. Keep going till the pasta is cooked.
- Reserve a couple of mugs of pasta water, then drain the rest. Add the pasta + kale back to the pan, and stir the leeks. Pour in a good splash of the pasta water and heat over a medium flame. Grate in some of the parmesan. The sauce will slowly start to thicken and become super creamy.
- Give everything a good stir and serve in bowls. Top with a little more cheese and a little glug of olive oil if you want to be fancy.
- Enjoy on a sunny day, watching the world float on by your boat’s window. Or house… A house is fine.