This recipe is always very popular among The Sylvia Center’s cooking class participants. Before making this recipe, most students have never tried kale and pasta together in the same dish. One reason we love this dish is for its versatility. Come springtime, we swap the kale and beans for asparagus and peas, and when late summer hits, it’s tomatoes and corn. Whatever the season, this recipe is meant to showcase the ingredients we have on hand. Be sure to reserve some pasta water to create a saucier consistency in step three, if needed.
We made this last week with our teen class participants and they cleaned their plates. The teens decided to make two batches — one with more red pepper flakes and lemon, and the other saucier and with more parmesan. As we sat down to share our meal, the dish inspired conversation around the three macronutrients that our bodies need — carbohydrates, fats and proteins. This is why we love teaching young people and families about food! The hands-on experiences facilitate discussion and action around what we are eating, why we are eating it and how to prepare it in a simple and delicious way.
Tuscan Kale and White Bean Pasta
1 bunch of kale, chopped coarsely
1 15 oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated
1 lb whole wheat pasta
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to instructions or until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
- While pasta is cooking, bring a large skillet to medium-high heat. Once skillet is hot, add olive oil.
- When the oil is shimmering, add onions and pinch of cayenne pepper and saute until translucent (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add kale and saute until soft, but still bright green.
- Add white beans and then the pasta and reserved pasta water. Simmer until the sauce has thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and grated parmesan.