Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pasta, potatoes and kale...

In just a few days, Thanksgiving will be upon us... are you still looking for a sweet treat to make? I have another pumpkin idea in mind for ours that we'll share later in the week, but let's take a look back at what we have made in years past. Maybe one of these will strike some inspiration?

Our very first year of blogging (we lived in warm Phoenix back then!) we made this Cinnamon Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie.

Two years ago, when we lived in Maryland, we prepared this fun Pumpkin Pie Cake.

And that brings us to last year, our first back in Minnesota, when we made that Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie.
Geez... we really get around don't we? Hee hee!

Anyway, for this week we came up with 9 new recipes for us and we had a hard time picking out favorites! If we have to choose, I think we would pick those Peanut Butter Cream Sandwich Cookies, the Three-Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake and that Smaller Batch Penuche Fudge.

Since we love potatoes and pasta, it wasn't much of a stretch to imagine this Campanelle with Kale, Sage and Potatoes dish would go over well tonight. However, I wasn't sure if it would end up being too starchy with all those two together. Thankfully, at least for us, I had nothing to worry about!

Rich in color and nutrients, kale is one of those healthy ingredients that I really need to incorporate more into our world. Since the thick stems and tough ribs need to be remove for this recipe, we needed about a full pound of the kale. However, looks can be deceiving - be sure to toss the kale onto the scale at your market... while the one we picked up looked to be enough, it weighed a paltry half pound! After grabbing another, we found one that one was close, otherwise we would have needed two bunches.

Don't discard those stems and whatnot though! Save them, along with other vegetable trimmings, to make your own vegetable stock - they do leech a stronger "earthy" flavor into the stock, but we liked that when we tried it.

The mound of leaves you have might look excessively large now, but once you take them for a dip in boiling water and shock them in icy cold water, you'll see they wilt right down to an embarrassing, but concentrated amount. If you know you will be running short on time when you make this, go ahead and prepare this part a day ahead of time and keep the cooked kale in the refrigerator.

To get the potatoes workin', we diced up a couple Yukon golds while we waited for a pan with a slick extra-virgin oil covering the bottom to heat up. After sliding the potatoes in, we left them to cook, tossing them every so often, until they had a glorious burnished color encasing the tender, moist insides. Diced pancetta, along with pungent garlic, fresh sage and a sprinkling of crushed red pepper is added - you won't need to cook this much longer, just enough to crisp up the Italian bacon.

Multitasking, we also had another pot of water coming to a boil and dropped in a couple handfuls of flower-shaped campanelle pasta while waiting on those potatoes. Not a fan of this shape? Try gemelli or fusilli. A minute or two before the pasta would have been done, we drained away the water, tossed the pasta back into the pot and added the kale leaves, golden potato mixture, chicken broth, sharp Parmesan cheese and a couple squirts worth of fresh lemon juice. A bit of the broth and juice will be soaked in by the pasta as it finishes cooking and the rest, with help from the cheese, makes a light sauce to keep everything moist.

The juice added doesn't make the dish taste "lemon-y", but the acidity helped to pop the flavors. There are a few steps to this, but it goes by pretty fast and we are looking forward to heating up the leftovers for lunch tomorrow! This would also make a fine veggie dish - leave out the pancetta and swap the chicken broth for vegetable or just use the starchy pasta water instead. To punch up the flavor, a scattering of extra Parmesan just before serving would also be desirable.


  1. Another great week of recipes.

  2. It is one of my dreams to one day finally try a pumpkin pie!

  3. Old Duffy - Thanks!

    Jacqui - do give it a try!

  4. Yum ... of your desserts, I'd pick the cake!

  5. Tracy - I don't know if I could pick out a favorite, but that cake was quite good!