In the winter I tend to have a hard time coming up with pasta ideas that are meatless. I find that when I make pasta sauce using only canned vegetables or winter vegetables I really crave meat. However, as a family we limit our meat-based meals to an average of one per week. Well, thanks to the power of the internet my extremely simple search of “winter pasta” came back with a perfect result: “Winter Pasta” from 101 Cookbooks.
The day we were to make this meal we had errands to run in the afternoon so the boys and I met my wife (Madame) when she finished work and we all did the errands together (including stopping by Foodivore’s Open House) so we didn’t get home until near 6pm. We were both tired. Madame offered to cook and I played with the boys (or lounged on the couch near the playing boys…). In less than 30 minutes dinner was ready and it was wonderful!
In terms of locality of ingredients, the pasta was from Mississauga, the goat cheese from Woolwich, the kale, onion, and garlic from Waterloo. Madame pointed out that one thing she really liked about the recipe was the duel use of the water to boil the vegetables and then the noodles. She also was very pleased with the speed and ease of making the meal. All in all it is a very tasty and refreshing winter pasta!
We lacked a few of the ingredients from the original recipe so what follows is an adaptation.
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- ½ sweet onion, chopped coarsely
- 1 small bunch of kale (roughly ½ lb.)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup goat cheese, plus more for topping
- 1-2 Tb. lemon juice
- 12 oz – 16 oz pasta
- thyme (fresh or dried)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the garlic and onions. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stir in the kale and cook for just ten more seconds. The goal is to just soften the greens and bring out their vibrant green color. Use a slotted spoon or strainer transfer the greens, garlic, and onions to a food processor. You don’t want to dump everything in a colander because you’re going to reuse the water to cook the pasta. Add the olive oil and goat cheese to the food processor and puree*. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper. As suggested in the original recipe you can add lemon juice if you like the acidic flavor, we did and it was just right! Set the sauce aside while you cook the pasta.
Reusing the original pot of water, boil the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta when cooked and toss with the sauce. Serve topped with a small amount of thyme, and more crumbled goat cheese (one way I like to crumble goat cheese from a “log” is by gently twisting a fork into the cheese, which works well so long as it’s not a super-soft cheese).
*Future addition: the sauce could take on a pesto-like nature by pureeing a ¼ cup of walnuts. (Right after thinking this I decided to search engine it and I found this: Kale Walnut Pesto Pasta, exactly what I was thinking!)