Kale, pine nut, and bacon penne | Recipe-free cooking

12 Jan

Kale, Pine Nut, and Bacon PenneMark Bittman’s reading tonight made me realize: I eat a lot of meat. Especially for someone who used to be a vegetarian.

So rather than finishing off the beef and dark beer chili I made last night (for bros’ night — bros + Nicole), I decided to use up the piles of kale I had leftover from when I made Bittman’s potato kale soup last week. I was thinking about his note about pine nuts in his pantry-cleaning article for the NYT. If only I had some sun-dried tomatoes, I thought. Then I looked in my freezer (to get the cubes of homemade stock, also Bittman) and found my last three pieces of turkey bacon.

I have a meal! I thought. And I did. And it was delish. Here’s the recipe. Bear in mind, that I didn’t measure anything, so all quantities are approximate (the exact quantities won’t matter, as long as its roughly in these proportions).

Kale, pine nut, and bacon penne

Serves: 3 (to serve 4, use a full pound of pasta, 4 strips bacon, 3 cloves garlic, full bunch of kale)

Time: Less than 30 minutes

  • 3/4 lb. penne or other pasta
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (about a handful)
  • 3 strips bacon (turkey bacon is OK)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (plus some extra water, if needed)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • about 3/4 of a bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped up into small pieces
  • pecorino, romano, or parmesan for the top
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • splash of olive oil
  1. Start boiling the water for the pasta, then cook the pasta. The rest of the meal will be ready just about when the pasta is done cooking.
  2. Heat a large skillet for a minute over medium to medium-low heat. When it’s evenly hot, toss the pine nuts in, swishing them around in the pan until they are semi-evenly toasted. Set aside.
  3. Turn the skillet up to medium. Cook the bacon evenly until done. Remove, chop into small pieces, and set asi
  4. Splash some water into the skillet to get all the bacon drippings. Then add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a minute or so.
  5. Put the kale in the skillet, stirring to help it wilt evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste, and add more stock or water if necessary. You want a little bit of liquid to stay with the kale. When the kale is evenly wilted, add the chopped-up bacon and pine nuts and cook until heated through.
  6. Drain the cooked pasta and put individual servings on plates. Spoon the kale mixture on top. Drizzle with olive oil, then grate the cheese on top. Add more pepper if you like.
  7. Eat with a big ol’ salad and yummy bread and enjoy. Mmmmmmm.

Someday, I will learn how to get the lighting right in a food photo.


One Response to “Kale, pine nut, and bacon penne | Recipe-free cooking”

  1. N March 14, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    My new way of cooking this is sauteeing the garlic, adding the greens (blanched in the pasta water–either before I cook the pasta or after I take the pasta out), then adding the stock. If you don’t have stock, use a bit of the water that you used to cook the pasta and greens. It’ll have a little bit of flavor (especially if you use beet greens) and a bit of consistency (from the pasta’s starch). Noms.

    You can also substitute sausage for the bacon.

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