Spicy Kale with Whole-Wheat Spaghetti

Spicy Kale with Whole-Wheat Spaghetti
Rate it!

spicy kale with pepper pasta

With a huge bunch of kale still in the fridge from when we picked it up at the CSA, we knew we had to start making inroads on using it before it started going bad. Well, we debated making something with kale and potatoes, and looked a bit on the Internet for ideas. We also looked for other kale recipes, too. All were pretty much the same, so we weren’t super-enthused about any of them. We waffled, and considered various ideas, but what finally clinched it was making a Cherry Almond Galette with Rosemary Crust.

That seems odd, right? Well, the crust required an egg wash, so we had egg left over, and our go-to use for a leftover single egg is pasta. So, we decided on a dinner based on a recipe from In the Green Kitchen, by Alice Waters: Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Kale. It’s a fairly standard way to cook kale, but, since we make our own pasta, we decided to make a slightly spicier version, by using Spicy Pepper Pasta cut into spaghetti, and by adding a bit more red pepper flake when cooking the kale.

Spicy Kale with Whole-Wheat Spaghetti

Yield: 2-3 servings

Spicy Kale with Whole-Wheat Spaghetti


  • 1 batch Spicy Pepper Pasta, made with 1/2 whole-wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose flour, cut into spaghetti
  • 2 Tbs olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake, or to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves sliced finely
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, sliced with a vegetable peeler for topping

Abbreviated Instructions

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add red pepper flakes and let sizzle for 2 minutes. Add onion and cook until golden, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer, being careful so the garlic doesn't burn.

Add kale, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, adding water if needed to keep kale from drying out.

Meanwhile, boil pasta in salted water. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta water.

Add pasta to kale along with 1/4 cup pasta water. Stir and toss to mix pasta thoroughly, adding more pasta water as needed.

Serve in heated bowls, drizzle with olive oil, adding ribbons of Parmesan cheese for topping


Ingredient discussion:

mise en place
Simple ingredients for a fast meal.

Okay, we know that not everyone makes his or her own pasta, but consider trying it at least once. It’s not that difficult, and you can customize it for your dish. Here, we made Spicy Pepper Pasta, but, instead of using just all-purpose flour, we replaced half of the flour with white whole-wheat flour for a toothier texture.

Procedure in detail:

cooking onions
Add enough red pepper flake and everything will take on a red-hot glow.

Sauté onions. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, stir in the red pepper flake and let sizzle for a few minutes. The oil should turn a reddish color as the capsicum oil is drawn out of the pepper. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 7 minutes. You should notice that the onions start to take on the red color. Finally, stir in the garlic and sauté about 2 minutes more, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.

cooking kale
Add water as needed to keep the kale cooking without drying out.

Add kale. Add the kale to the skillet and stir to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring often, until tender. If the pan dries out, add a bit more water. We did this by scooping out a bit of the water used for prepping the pasta.

Boil pasta. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, or just slightly chewy. Scoop off about 3/4 cup of the pasta water and set it aside. Drain pasta thoroughly.

adding pasta
Even the pasta is spicy in this dish.

Add pasta. Once drained, add the pasta to the kale along with about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir or toss the pasta to get it well mixed in, adding additional water if needed.

Serve. Serving is simple. Divide pasta and kale into heated bowls, drizzle with a bit more olive oil, and, using a vegetable peeler, shave a few pieces of Parmesan on top.

This is a pretty fast and easy way to cook up a batch of kale. While it uses the traditional way of cooking greens — with garlic and a bit of red pepper flake — we made sure to use more red pepper flake to make the dish spicy. We also added spicy pasta with a chewy texture. One of us thought this was really good, while the other thought it was too spicy. So, we’ll say four stars.

Worth the trouble?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *