This dish was adapted from a recipe I found on epicurious.com, Pasta with Lentils and Kale. I have to say, when I first read this recipe I was quite skeptical, but since I had a can of lentils in the cabinet and a box of frozen kale, I decided to give it a shot. Boy was it worth it! I made a few changes to suit my own tastes and now I have something that will definitely be a part of my regular repertoire. The bitterness of the greens with the sweetness of the caramelized onions and sun-dried tomatoes, combined with the creaminess of the lentils is absolutely lovely. The original recipe called for dried lentils and fresh kale, but with a few feet of snow on the ground and not much time after work I decided to go the easier route of using the canned and frozen items I had on hand. Either way you go, I’m sure you’ll love this recipe.
I also think pasta selection is important here. I used Gemelli pasta, it’s a sturdy short pasta that maintains a bite or al dente texture quite well because of it’s layers and twists. It holds up well with the ingredients in this dish and also adds a nice variation in overall texture.
- 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp. Butter
- 1 large Onion, sliced (2 cups)
- Salt & Pepper
- Crushed red pepper, to taste
- Sun-dried Tomatoes, sliced thin
- 1 10 oz. package frozen Kale
- 1 12 oz. can of Lentils
- ½ cup Vegetable stock (or more)
- 3 cloves of minced Garlic
- 1 Box of Gemelli or other short pasta
Heat a large sauté pan (one large enough to toss everything together at the end) over medium heat and add the olive oil and the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the sliced onions, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cook onions about 20 minutes, lower the heat a bit to medium-low and add the crushed red pepper and the sun-dried tomatoes and cook another 20 minutes or until the onions are well caramelized. Taking the time to caramelize your onions well will pay off with the finished dish.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions and keep aside until needed. Also reserve about ½ cup of your pasta cooking water in case you don’t have quite enough liquid to coat your pasta when you toss it with everything else.
Once your onion mixture is finished, add the kale (frozen or thawed) and cover, cook until heated through. Add the canned lentils, including the liquid from the can, vegetable stock and garlic. At this point, you’ll want to re-season with salt and pepper to suit your taste. Both beans and greens generally take a lot of salt so you’ll want to ensure they are well seasoned before you toss in your pasta. Add your pasta and gently mix to combine all ingredients well. If you find you don’t have enough liquid to coat your pasta well, use the pasta water you reserved earlier.
You can top this dish with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, toasted breadcrumbs or toasted pine nuts.
*A note on the garlic, I add the garlic at the end to give the finished dish a kick. Raw garlic lends a spicy sort of bite to a dish. If you’re not a fan of raw’ish garlic, add it to the onion mixure when you add the sun-dried tomatoes.