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Lazy Saturday Cooking

We all have those days. We barely want to get off the couch – let alone cook. Today is one of those days. When I was little, a lazy day meal meant Texas Tommies (hot dogs wrapped in cheese and bacon), Swanson TV dinners, or takeout from my dad’s hoagie shop. Speaking of bacon – it is the one thing I miss (okay crave) as a vegetarian. You just cannot duplicate bacon. I can make a jerk seitan that can pass as jerk chicken and even make an “eggless” tofu salad, but bacon is irreplacable. Sometimes, as a little gift, my husband sends me out into the hallway of our apartment if someone is cooking bacon so I can get a good strong whiff of the stuff. God I love those days.

Sadly, this post isn’t about bacon. It’s about comfort food and easy cooking. Pasta is the easiest and most versatile food in the world. And although I’m Italian, I rarely make it with tomato sauce (somewhere my grandmother is shaking her head over this).  Rather, I’ll saute cannelini beans and broccoli with some penne, make a quick pesto, or toss in some olive oil, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes and voila – dozens of easy pasta meals. I love it every way under the sun. I doubt Ryan shares my love of pasta quite as much but he rarely, if ever, complains about my cooking and happily eats what I cook.

So, today feels like a pasta day. I’ve tried to trade in some of my frivoulous fashion/gossip magazines for some cooking magazines lately (I need some kind of magazine fix) and found a great article on kale in this month’s Bon Appetite. If you recall, kale was my side dish in last week’s pumpkin seed pesto ravioli dinner. The article was written by Molly Wizenberg – author of one my favorite food blogs Orangette and a new book that I just finished – “A Homemade Life” (yes, another food memoir). She shares her favorite kale recipe – spaghetti and kale – and it sounded too good to pass up. Luckily, we stopped at the farmer’s market this morning and picked up kale plus radishes, cilantro, scallions and the last cantaloupe of the season. Note: the end of cantaloupe season nearly caused a temper tantrum from Ryan whose obsession with the fruit has required me to clean rinds out of our sink every morning since July. But I digress…

Here is the recipe. I substituted whole wheat penne for the spaghetti.

Bon Appetit!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lacinato kale (about 2 bunches), large center ribs and stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

  • Rinse kale. Drain; transfer to bowl with some water still clinging.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add sliced garlic and sprinkle with salt; cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add kale and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally and adding water by teaspoonfuls if dry, about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in medium pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add cooked spaghetti to kale mixture in pot. Add lemon juice and 2 tablespoons reserved cooking liquid; toss to combine, adding more liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry. Sprinkle spaghetti with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
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