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Farfalle with Kale, Bacon, and Mint

farfalle with kale
Yesterday, home alone for lunch, a few quiet minutes between meetings. How I love weekday lunches at home. Luxury. Especially when wilted kale, salty bacon, and mint are involved. And especially when the work of making it came the night before. One of my absolute favorite things is refried pasta. Have you ever noticed that microwaved leftover pasta is rather unsatisfying? If there's any cream or cheese, it turns to oil. If anything was once crispy, it becomes soggy. So I prefer to heat up the wok or nonstick skillet (pasta will stick to anything else), pour in a bit of olive oil, and crisp everything up.

Then Yancey came home, Loretta in tow, lots of chatter about painting in preschool and who cried for their mom. Yancey heated up the wok again, sat down across from me, and our kitchen saw another day in its life of home office, bistro, and incident command center.

P.S. I have a secret. In the last month, we have been eating mostly rice and beans. When I sit down to menu-plan on Sundays, absolutely nothing comes to mind. I can't seem to remember one single thing I've ever cooked. I have no creativity and scant motivation, so I fill up a bowl and soak more beans. My friend Aimee, whose family came over for Night # 4 of tostadas, said, "Why don't you write about this on your blog?" So I am. You are not alone.

Farfalle with Kale, Bacon, and Mint
I've got kale coming out my ears in my garden. Everything else is rotting, but that little row of kale could feed an army. And I've got tons of herbs still, which is where the mint came from. You can, of course, leave the mint out, sub spinach or chard for the kale, use another kind of pasta, leave the meat out or sub chorizo or other sausage. As always, this is more a record of what I did than a prescription for what you should do. This will serve four hungry adults.

1 lb. farfalle or other pasta
2 bunches kale, washed, ribbed, and coarsely chopped
couple big glugs of olive oil
1 bunch broccolini, stems halved lengthwise and cut into 1" lengths and florets broken up
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. (or more!) thick-sliced bacon, coarsely chopped
1/4 c. good quality sundried tomatoes, julienned
1 c. finely shredded parmesan
finely grated zest and juice of one small lemon
2 red Thai chiles, seeded and finely chopped
handful chopped fresh mint
handful chopped fresh oregano

Set a big pot of salted water on to boil.

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 c. of the parmesan, lemon zest, chopped chiles, and chopped herbs. Set aside.

In a large skillet, crisp up bacon. Remove bacon from pan, reserving most of the bacon fat, and turn down to low.  Add broccolini stems and cook for 5 minutes. Add florets,garlic, salt, and pepper, stirring often, and saute until broccolini is tender, not mushy. Add sundried tomatoes.

Pour pasta into boiling water and cook until tender. At the last minute, throw kale in there, using a spoon to submerge it in the boiling water. Drain pasta and kale, reserving 1/2 c. of cooking water.

To the pasta and kale, add bacon, broccoli mixture, cooking water, parmesan and olive oil.  Stir and divide among pasta bowls, topping each with the herb mixture.

Reader Comments (7)

How absolutely delicious! I'll go harvest that remaining mint before the frost gets it! And right now, I have more chard and more sorrel than I have kale----I neglected to replant! But what a good combo this sounds like! And using what I've got sounds just perfect! Thanks for a Friday night inspiration/gift, Sarah! Happy Halloween!!

October 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynn M

I've also been in a major rut when it comes to cooking or baking. So busy and no motivation. Why do we need to eat every day anyway? :) This dish sounds really good and looks delicious.

October 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Wow! Sarah, thank you for this admission!! I consider you among the most creative cooks out there with nary a moment of "menu block." Seriously, I am feeling enormous relief, knowing that you struggle with this issue, too. You always seem to know just what your readers might need in every arena.

October 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Glad to hear that I am not the only one feeling uninspired by my kitchen. I seem to have no problem baking but cooking is currently beyond me. I think it's partly that Randy has been out of town almost constantly and I don't have the energy to cook for one plus two kids. Maybe we can inspire each other.

October 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDana

I've been craving greens. Kale and collard greens. So your recipe caught my eye. But I've been doing a super-shortened riff on your recipe. Sauteeing bacon (snip w/ scissors into pieces right into the pan) and chopped onion till really brown. Add a good pinch of brown sugar (to caramelize) and then add the chopped greens stems (to cook a bit) and lastly the chopped greens themselves. Maybe a splash of water & cover (to wilt greens). Yummy combo of salty, sweet & robust greens.

October 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVanya

This looks really really good. Anything with kale is a winner in my book.

this sounds fantastic and so straight forward. can't help but notice the little "placemat" on the right and smile. :) how i'd love to be there with you + aim eating the tostadas. :)

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjordan

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