Friday, March 30, 2012

Spaghetti with Shrimp and Braised Kale

Kale is the new black of the vegetable world if you ask me. I have to admit I had not heard of this leafy green until recently. Now its kale this and kale that. And can you blame it? This is one powerhouse of a food.  It can lower your cholesterol, help fend off 5 different kinds of cancer, and is chocked  full of antioxidants and rich (#1 to be exact in all the leafy green veggies) in Vitamin K. If it could just clean my kitchen we would be all set me and kale.  I bought two bunches of this stuff to give kale chips a try (better than potato chips I heard!). Although they were quite delicious, comparing kale chips to potato chips is like comparing my favorite pair of heels to my best worn in sandals. Both are great in their own way and serves a need when I need not exactly a fair comparison.

After I made a batch of kale chips, I still had one bunch left. What to do? I quickly found this recipe on Bon Appetit for spaghetti with braised kale. I changed it slightly by adding sauteed shrimp in with the dish. This dish was everything you would want it to be- quick, healthy, and affordable. Oh and it was delicious. Kale and I are going to get along just fine. 

Spaghetti with Shrimp and Braised Kale
Adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2009

While making this, I don't know if I got "lacinato kale" nor do I personally think it matters. I bought the only kale I saw in my produce aisle and I suggest you do the same! I also seasoned my kale with salt, pepper, and a little red pepper flakes. That is entirely optional. I personally liked the little heat from the red pepper. As for the shrimp, I again have you use your best judgement on the amount you want to add. I used up what I had which was about 5 shrimp per serving. I also added vegetable broth to my kale during the cooking process instead of water to amp up the flavor. Don't have it? Don't bother. Use water as the original recipe intended. 

  • 1 pound lacinato kale (about 2 bunches), large center ribs and stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices (Now I have to admit I don't know if I got the right kind of kale, so use whatever is available in your produce aisle!)
  • 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
  • Shrimp, thawed, peeled, and deveined
  • Water (or vegetable broth)


  • 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.
    In the same pan push the kale to one side and add your shrimp  to cook. 
  • 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 and shrimp 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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