Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Kale Pasta Carbonara
This is one of the best pasta dishes we have ever made. It's rich, it's creamy, it's hearty, and it's simple - everything you can ask for in a dinner. When we stumbled upon this recipe, we had memories of making pasta carbonara (which traditionally has bacon in it) prior to becoming vegetarian and our mouths started watering immediately. We liked that this version didn't try to add fake bacon but instead derived its rich and umami packed flavor from real food.
The secret to this recipe is using soy sauce and smoked paprika to bring a deep a smoky flavor to the dish. Meanwhile, the kale adds a great crunch and helps make the dish more filling and complete. After making this dish multiple times, we also decided that this is the time to use the best fresh pasta you can find. Dried pasta just doesn't have the richness and smoothness that helps make this dish so amazing. We are able to find fresh cut pasta at our local Whole Foods and at a local pizza and pasta shop, and hopefully you are able to find some too (in a pinch prepackaged fresh pasta at a grocery store would work).
While this dish is elegant and perfect for a date-night dinner, it couldn't be easier to throw together. After sautéing the kale onion and spices, they are tossed together with the cooked pasta, fresh eggs, and parmesan cheese. Give this recipe a try this weekend and it will soon be a staple dinner in your house!
Kale Pasta Carbonara
Adapted from Gilt Taste
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 bunch kale, sliced into 1/2 inch ribbons
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp soy sauce
1 lb fresh pasta, a long pasta works best
2 eggs (the will be only lightly cooked so be sure to use eggs that you trust)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
Heat 1 tsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add kale and cook until kale stems are tender, another 10 minutes. Add smoked paprika, soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well then turn heat to low. You want this to be smoky and tender, but not overly spicy, salty, or mushy.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Stir often to break up clumps and cook until just al dente, about 2-3 minutes if using fresh pasta, 8 minutes for dried pasta. Drain pasta, saving a cup of cooking liquid.
Beat the eggs and cheese together in a large bowl, then add pasta. Toss quickly and vigorously with tongs to create a creamy sauce and lightly cook the eggs. Once a sauce forms, add kale and onion mixture and toss some more. Add some pasta water if mixture becomes too thick.
Serve immediately with lots of black pepper and extra cheese. Serves 4.