For someone who is so vehemently anti January food bullshit, I feel a bit guilty about my first post of 2016 involving kale. I mean, it’s kale. The poster child for all things ‘healthy.’ But (and hear me out here), I feel that kale gets a bit of a bad rep. Primarily because people don’t bother to use it properly. They add it to smoothies (NO), they use it raw in things like Caesar salads (DOUBLE NO) and they think that they can make it more palatable by giving it a good old massage. (Yes, that’s really a thing).
Kale is not a premier league footballer. It will not become more palatable if you give it a thorough rub down with some olive oil and whisper sweet things into its ear. However, it does become absolutely delicious when you blanch it, fry it with some anchovies, garlic and chillies and throw it into a big pot of pasta.
This recipe for spaghetti with kale, anchovies and chilles is one of my winter staples. It’s quick, it only involves one pot and it is pretty much impossible to mess up. The leftovers also make a cracking lunch which is great if (like me) you’re trying to save money this month by ignoring the siren call of Pret.
I can’t remember where I first discovered this recipe, but it must have been from somewhere because originality with kale has never been my strong point. (Out of interest, if the person who invented this recipe is reading this, please leave a comment so I can find you and buy you a pint.) While it may not make you love kale, it may help you to at least make a truce with it.
Quick note: This blog is now a whole year old! Thank you so much to everyone who is reading this, both old and new. I hope you enjoy reading my rambings about food and fashion as much as I enjoy writing them.
Spaghetti with kale, anchovies and chilli (Makes two decent sized portions)
You will need:
- 140g spaghetti (I prefer to use wholemeal here, but I’ve used white spaghetti to make this too and it works just as well)
- 1/2 bunch of kale, ribs removed and sliced into strips
- 1 tin of anchovies
- 2 fat cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon of dried red chillies
- 1 lemon
- A good handful of grated parmesan
- Salt and black pepper
- Cook the pasta in a good amount of salted boiling water. When the pasta is just about ready (roughly 8-10 minutes into cooking), throw in the kale. You want it to just be blanched so it’s not too tough.
- Drain the pasta and kale, reserving a tablespoon of the cooking water for the sauce.
- Thoroughly dry the pan you used to cook the pasta and kale (this step is important – water and oil DO NOT mix.) Heat two tablespoons of oil and add the anchovies with the oil they’re packed in. You want to break the anchovies up as they cook so they form a paste. Add the sliced garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Then add the dried chillies and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Add the cooked pasta and kale to the anchovy, garlic and chilli mixture and mix thoroughly to combine. Grate the zest of the lemon over everything (I like to squeeze the juice of the lemon over the pasta as I think this adds a nice bit of pep. However, this is totally optional.)
- Serve topped with the grated parmesan, salt and black pepper. Feel free to add a touch more chilli to the mix if that’s your thing. After all, it’s January and it’s cold out there.