Nona’s Pasta


Recipe is courtesy of Kale, by Stephanie Pedersen

Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.  387 Park Avenue South, New York, N.Y. 10016

A few years ago I was asked to be part of a blog tour featuring a book about kale.  I love to cook and I love vegetables, but up to that point in my life I had never tasted kale.  After reading the book, and realizing how many nutrients are in the kale leaf, I wondered where it had been all my life.  Here are some handy tips from the author:

  • Buy dark, leafy greens that are still springy and moist, with no yellow spots.
  • Once home, wrap the kale in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator crisper drawer for no more than 5 days.
  • DO NOT WASH the kale until you are ready to use it.
  • De-rib the kale with your hands (you won’t need a knife) before cooking or eating.
  • For maximum health benefits, eat kale at least 3 times per week, 1-2 cups at a time.
  • Kale can be eaten steamed, pureed, baked, fried, boiled, sautéed, blanched, raw, etc.  However, if you have issues with gall stones, or kidney stones, limit your intake of raw or cooked kale to 1-2 servings per week (the oxalic acid in kale can crystallize in the gall bladder and kidneys).


Kale is considered a superfood because it contains Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, K, and folate, insoluble fiber, protein, glucosinolates, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, carotenoids, omega-3 fatty acids, chlorophyll, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and tryptophan.  What does all that mean?  Well according to the author, kale provides the following benefits:

  • Makes your skin look great (Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, Vitamins A, C, and E).
  • Provides sustained energy and increased physical stamina (Omega-3 fatty acids).
  • Helps joints feel better and helps you heal quicker between workouts (Vitamin K, Omega-3 fatty acids, anti-inflammatory flavonoids).
  • Makes you feel full (fiber).
  • Improves eyesight (high beta-carotene content).
  • Improves immune system functions (antioxidants).
  • Helps prevent and heal heart conditions, high cholesterol, cancer, and diseases of the gall bladder and liver (numerous nutrients).

We are pasta lovers and so I thought this was the best chance I’d have at introducing kale to the family.  Turns out that Danielle and I love it, Bobby will tolerate it, and Mark will eat it if it’s in something (Sausage and Kale Soup) and does not dominate the flavor profile. Enjoy!



2 cups cooked lentils ( use the French Green Lentils, they taste better)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced ( I used 4 cloves)

1 bunch kale, deribbed, blanched, squeezed dry, and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 pound dried elbow or ditalini or other short tubular pasta, cooked until al dente ( I used mini bow tie pasta, and I only used 1/2 pound)


grated Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese to sprinkle on top

salt and pepper, to taste

red pepper flakes




de-ribbed kale


blanched and squeezed kale- it shrinks quite a bit


1. In a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, warm olive oil until hot but not smoking.  Saute onion and garlic, stirring, for about 1 minute.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally (near the end especially), until the onions are soft and golden, about 20 minutes.  If using red pepper flakes, add those in now.  Remove lid and increase heat to moderate, then cook, stirring frequently, until onion is golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes more.


2. Add all remaining ingredients, stir,  and increase heat to high.  Cover pan and allow to cook for 1 minute.


3. Season with salt and pepper.  After dishing up the pasta, sprinkle grated Parmegiano-Reggiano on top.


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