Years later, while still part of camp anti-kale, I came to realize that my son was a fan. I was a bit horrified at first. But how could I ban such a nutrient dense food and one of the vegetables on a very short list that he would actually eat without having a fit about it? I gave in. Not only did I figure out how to make kale chips that were palatable for all of us to eat (mainly me, lots of sea salt), I also succumbed and planted some seeds in the garden. Kale is known to love the Cape Cod raw, cold spring weather and it’s somewhat milder New England winters. This year is no exception. Those kale plants are still going strong and have enough leaves on them to be harvested for the stew you see pictured here.
Although I have embraced many uses for kale ( I am a big fan of a salad invented by Alexandra Stafford loaded with Parmesan, toasted breadcrumbs and shallot vinaigrette), I will never demand others to do the same. But I am happy to share the recipes that made me a convert. I guess I will eat more kale. Just don’t expect me to wear the t-shirt.
“There are two types of people; those who eat kale and those who should.” – Bo Muller-Moore
Kale, Pasta and Chickpea Stew
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper
14 oz. San Marzano tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 pound (8 oz.) mezzi rigatoni
6 cups roughly chopped kale
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring so that the onion does not burn for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes (if using) and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the tomatoes, break them up into small pieces. Add chickpeas. Add 4 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and bring to a simmer. Stir often so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Cook for about 10 minutes until pasta is al dente. If the pasta has absorbed too much liquid, add about 1/2 cup water and stir. Add the kale and stir until wilted. Taste and add more salt, if necessary. Serve with Parmesan cheese and slices of crusty bread.