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Capellini with Kale, Lemon, & Pecorino

December 11, 2012

Capellini with Kale, Lemon, & Pecorino

I thought I was being so original – or as original as you can get repinning a la Pinterest – when I found this fab looking recipe for Meyer lemon pasta. Thinking I had come a very long way since my first accidental run-in with kale, I purchased some willingly and knowingly this past Sunday, later realizing that the recipe was alarmingly similar to my first experience with that bitter, leafy green. After reviewing tasting the evidence, this version of the recipe is worth (essentially) re-posting because it is that much better. Using milder Meyer lemons (and the peel, too) rather than regular lemons, the more delicate Capellini pasta rather than spaghetti, tossing in red pepper flakes, and adding toasted pine nuts made all the difference between a decent pasta dish and a memorable win. Be sure this improved recipe for the perfect and quick weeknight meal… you certainly won’t be disappointed.

Capellini with Kale, Lemon, & Pecorino

1/2 pound capellini
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 (5 oz) tub of baby kale leaves (or 1 bunch, roughly chopped)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese, plus a ton more for garnish
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper; bloom for 30 seconds. Add the kale and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to wilt the greens, about three minutes. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Toss to combine.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toast nuts for about 5-8 minutes, watching carefully so they do not burn. Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water and drain the rest. Add the spaghetti to the skillet and toss to combine. Add a little olive oil and a touch of pasta water to create a thin sauce. Finally, add the cheese and toss until evenly distributed and melted.

Transfer to a serving dish and add toasted nuts and extra cheese for garnish.

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