Food52sday Recipe Interpretation: Pasta with Kale, Blood Orange and Breadcrumbs

pix 471First of all, if you've never had pasta with breadcrumbs, you really should try it.  I used multi-grain bread with sunflower seeds, and the crumbs made an earthy counterpoint to the kale and pasta.  I mixed cheese right in with the crumbs--which I've done before without realizing it's A Thing--and the resulting earthy-cheesy-crunchies were great.  If you're not a pasta fan, or you need to eat lower on the glycemic index, try this with any whole grain--farro would be lovely, and even quinoa would work well.

pix 455pix 459pix 469The original recipe was designed to be easy, filling and on the table in 30 minutes.  My version still gets it on the table in 30 minutes but adds just a couple of extra layers of flavor.  The base recipe is wide open to interpretation, so do give this a try and make it your own.

Pasta with Kale, Blood Orange and Breadcrumbs
Recipe type: Side or Main. Or Breakfast
Serves: 2-4
Filling and satisfying. Make this. Or a version of this. You will be so happy you did. This serves 2 for dinner or 4 as a side.
What You Need
  • 4 slices yummy bread (I used a multi-grain with lots of sunflower seeds in in)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 oz pancetta, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • ½ bunch kale, washed, trimmed of large ribs and chopped (I used Lacinato)
  • zest and juice from 1 blood orange
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 8 oz. linguini (reserve ⅓ cup of the pasta cooking water)
What To Do
  1. Toast the slices of bread until dark but not black. Let cool.
  2. Break up the bread then pulse in a food processor or blender along with a pinch of salt and pepper until you have lovely, coarse crumbs.
  3. Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add the breadcrumbs and stir until all the oil is evenly absorbed and the crumbs smell nice and nutty. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan. Some of it will melt and make wee cheesy/bread-crumby morsels. Let this happen.
  4. Heat a large pot of water and cook the pasta according to package directions. Cook the pasta about 2 minutes fewer than the box calls for.
  5. Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed pan, cook the pancetta until a bit crisp. Add the olive oil, garlic, shallot and salt and pepper and saute until fragrant.
  6. Add the kale, zests and orange juice and saute until the kale bright green (plus a couple of extra minutes, just to soften the texture) and the juice has reduced to a syrup.
  7. Add the reserved pasta cooking water to the kale. Stir in and toss the pasta together with the kale over high heat for a minute or two, or until most of the liquid is gone. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  8. Stir in the reserved breadcrumbs and serve.

Since I bought a ton of kale and had leftover breadcrumbs, I made another take on the dish the next evening.  This time, I used bacon for smokiness and a bunch of minced sun-dried tomatoes because they wanted In. Instead of linguini, I went with Israeli couscous that I deeply toasted in oil and butter and then cooked in homemade chicken stock along with the sun-dried tomatoes. I think I may have even liked this version better, even if it didn't have any citrus in it. Oh wait! I did season this version with a heavy pinch or three of that yummy citrus-fennel pollen sea salt I have. Good stuff.

DSCN3759Ally from What's for Dinner? Ally's Kitchen on facebook also put her own spin on the recipe inspiration. It was a hit at her house, so definitely go take a look!  Yay, Ally--so happy you joined in this week!

And that pretty much takes care of it. Stay tuned next Tuesday for the latest Recipe Inspiration.  I hope you're inspired to cook along or just to put your own spin on any recipe that strikes your fancy.  Need to know how it works? Read all about Food52sdays.

Take care, and have a lovely day.





    • says

      It really is good! It’s like comforting noodles (pasta/oil/parm/s&p/garlic powder/pepper flake) but with more substance and almost as easy to make. We loved both versions that we made:)


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