When in doubt, pasta + Parmesan + vegetable = a really good meal. For this version of that quick dinner classic, I added some mushrooms for extra umami, garlic because you gotta have garlic, and a heap of freshly cracked pepper (because I saw some parmesan & black pepper popcorn at the store it made my mouth water). I’ve already eaten half the pot of this Parmesan & Pepper Kale Pasta, if that says anything about how well it turned out.
Good. It turned out really good. But, I have yet to fail when using that “pasta + Parmesan + vegetable” formula. Works every time!
Parmesan & Pepper Kale Pasta
Parmesan & Pepper Kale Pasta is a quick and easy weeknight meal. Just a few ingredients transform boring pasta into a fancy meal.
- 2 Tbsp butter $0.20
- 2 cloves garlic $0.16
- 8 oz button mushrooms $1.99
- 1 bunch kale (curly or lacinato) $1.89
- 1/2 cup chicken broth $0.06
- 1/2 lb pasta (any shape) $0.75
- 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan $0.71
- Freshly cracked pepper $0.15
Mince the garlic and slice the mushrooms. Place the butter, garlic, and mushrooms in a large pot and sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until they are soft and dark (about 5 minutes).
While the mushrooms are sautéing, tear or cut the kale leaves from the stems, then chop them into small pieces. Rinse the kale well.
Add the kale to the pot along with 1/2 cup chicken broth. Stir the kale as it cooks until it is fully wilted. Let the wilted kale simmer in the broth without a lid over medium heat until most of the broth has evaporated (about 10 minutes).
While the kale is simmering, bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente (7-10 minutes). Drain the pasta and let it cool slightly, or until it looks a little dry and tacky in texture.
Remove the pot with the kale and mushrooms from the heat. Add the pasta and stir to combine. The pot should be warm, but not steaming hot. If it's still steaming, let it cool for about 5 minutes.* Once slightly cooled, add 1/2 tsp salt, about 20 cranks of a pepper mill (or more if desired), and the grated Parmesan. Stir until all the pasta and vegetables are coated in Parmesan and pepper. Taste the pasta and add more salt or pepper if needed.
*Allowing the contents of the pot to cool slightly helps the Parmesan stick to the pasta instead of melting and sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Parmesan & Pepper Kale Pasta
I can’t help it. I’ll probably put a soft boiled egg on top of a bowl of this tomorrow morning for breakfast. #eggaddict
Step by Step Photos
Start by slicing an 8 oz. package of mushrooms and mincing two cloves of garlic. Add the mushrooms and garlic to a large pot along with 2 Tbsp of butter.
Sauté the mushrooms and garlic over medium heat until they are soft and dark (about 5 minutes).
While the mushrooms are cooking, remove the stems from one bunch of kale. You can either just pull the leafy parts from the woody stems, or take a knife and run it along the side of each stem. Once the stem is removed, chop or tear the kale into smaller pieces.
Rinse the kale really well because a lot of dirt and debris (and maybe bugs??) can hide in those curly leaves. You don’t have to worry about waiting for it to dry.
Add the cleaned kale leaves to the pot along with a half cup of chicken broth. This is why I love Better Than Bouillon. You can mix up EXACTLY the amount you need, whenever you need it. It comes in low sodium and organic, too, if you were wondering (not a paid product mention!).
Cook and stir the kale until it wilts down, then let it simmer in the broth until most of the broth has evaporated away (about 10 minutes). Remove it from the heat and let it cool a little. While the kale is simmering away, cook a 1/2 lb. of pasta according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes). Drain the pasta well and let it cool slightly. Wait until it gets a little tacky and dry in the surface.
Letting the pasta and the pot cool just slightly is really important. If it’s still steaming hot when you add the Parmesan, the Parmesan will melt and stick to the bottom of the pot rather than coating the pasta in flavorful little granules. It’s okay for the pasta to still be warm, just make sure it’s not still steaming. Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, and a good healthy dose of freshly cracked pepper (20 cranks of a mill or more). Stir the pot until everything is coated in Parmesan and pepper. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.