Thursday, December 8, 2011

Home-Made Kale Pasta with Brussels Sprouts

Home-Made Kale pasta with Brussels Sprouts. This is pretty much as good as local, seasonal eating gets. I'm pretty proud of myself for this one!

I am currently in the middle of reading "Folks, This Ain't Normal" by Joel Salatin. He tells the story of a friend at the supermarket who was buying staples: flour, salt, sugar, etc. The lady behind him in the check-out line said, "You don't have anything in there to eat. How do you eat?"

The more I learn about cooking with fresh, seasonal produce, the more I realize that there are some things that seem to go into almost every recipe. Whole-wheat flour. Eggs. Milk. Honey. Spices.

These things, I'm realizing, are all staples. I need them to cook! [I know that this is basic knowledge for many people, but I'm just coming to it now.] Just a few months ago, I could have so easily been the woman in the check-out line behind Joel Salatin's friend. I was very used to frozen pizza, canned soup, etc. If I had a pantry full of flour and a fridge full of milk and eggs, I wouldn't have known what to do with them. I might have starved! But now I know that with just a few basic ingredients (staples!) you can make just about anything with the addition of fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Case in point: Home-made Kale Pasta with Brussels Sprouts.

I combined fresh, seasonal kale and Brussels sprouts with a handful of basic staples: whole-wheat flour, egg whites, cheese, olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. And I came out with dinner.

Who knew cooking from scratch could be so basic and so EASY?!

[...Everyone but me...]

The recipe for the homemade pasta itself was inspired by a whole-wheat spinach pasta recipe I found at Food Doodles. I knew I wanted something green and whole-wheat, and her recipe hit the mark. I used three handfuls of kale (my hands are small) instead of two handfuls of spinach, omitted the salt, and used six egg whites instead of three, whole eggs.

The recipe for the sauce and Brussels sprouts topping was directly from this recipe. I omitted the salt and used four egg whites instead of two whole eggs.

So, my final recipes were as follows:

Home-made pasta:

3 handfuls of roughly chopped kale
6 egg whites
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra

In a blender or food processor blend the eggs, oil, and kale till very smooth.

Transfer the egg mixture into a bowl with the flour. Mix well then knead with floured hands adding at least 1/2 C extra flour.

Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes before rolling.

[Good opportunity to cut Brussels sprouts and otherwise assemble ingredients for the sauce.]

Roll and cut the pasta using a pasta maker.

Boil for just a few minutes until the pasta floats and is al dente.

Sauce and Brussels Sprouts:

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
8 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed, outer leaves removed, and thinly sliced
4 egg whites
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Put water on to boil for pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium-high heat add olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. When fragrant and sizzling, add Brussels sprouts. Cook, stirring occasionally, until Brussels sprouts are soft, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and keep warm, stirring occasionally.

In a bowl, combine egg whites and cheese. Set aside.

When pasta is done cooking, drain and immediately add to egg and cheese mixture. Toss to coat pasta (and lightly cook eggs).

Add Brussels sprouts mixture and toss to combine thoroughly.

That's it! A meal from scratch, entirely from fresh ingredients and staples, in less than one hour.

The sauce comes out unexpectedly creamy (though upon re-heating leftovers, it loses this magical quality). It's like having a cream sauce without REALLY having a cream sauce.

And with all the egg whites, this dish not just a mountain of carbs topped with fat (like many pasta dishes). It's, instead, a mountain of healthy carbs bursting with protein and veggies.

I paired mine with a glass of Pinot Noir and it was hearty, green PERFECTION.

 I will never think of pasta the same way again!


  1. Fantastic idea. I love kale and would never have thought to make pasta with it.

  2. Thank you! I love spinach pasta, so that's what I had in mind. But kale is what I had fresh in my 'firdge, so I thought, "Why not?!"


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