February 23, 2011
Would you like some pasta with those veggies?
Nature tricked us this week. I think she does this every year, but like the silly humans we are, we forget how this pretend spring weather that rears its head for a couple of days in February is nothing more than an annual cruel joke. I cruised down the river trail on my usual warm weather 7-mile run, in shorts and a t-shirt, practically leaping with happiness at the little streams of melting snow.
And then 22 degrees happened. Quickly. And just like that, as fast as the weather man had marveled over our heat wave sensation, he once again marveled at the frigid air like it hadn't already been there five days earlier.
Anyway. There's lots about winter that makes me feel cozy, warm, and happy, but there is much about winter that also makes me feel like a slug... Loaded down with boredom at the indoors and searching my cabinets for my favorite three C's: chocolate, cereal, and crackers. Warm days get seven mile runs. Cold days get a brief trip to the gym and seven reasons to snack on separate occasions.
Thus, my reasoning for wanting to have a little pasta with my veggies come dinnertime. It simply feels better to load up on the good, healthy, hearty stuff and minimize the heavy, meaty, carb-y stuff. This kale pasta is exactly that proportion: loads of kale is tossed with a slightly less generous serving of pasta, just enough crispy bacon for the "wow, bacon is delicious" factor, and topped with salty and slightly warmed-through light feta cheese.
Now that's enough reason for me to stop wishing for another pretend spring day, but instead fill a big bowl, snuggle up on the couch, and simply give in to February.
Kale & Bacon Pasta (serves 2)
1 T. olive oil
1/2 of a medium Spanish onion, chopped
3 slices of bacon, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. kale, rinsed, left wet, and leaves removed from the stem
1 1/2 cups dried whole grain pasta, cooked in lightly salted water, water reserved
1 t. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
hot red pepper flakes to taste
1/4 cup light feta, crumbled
Directions: In a medium to large pot, preheat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and bacon and cook until the bacon is crisped and the onion is tender. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the kale to the pot and stir. Cook until the kale is soft and tender, stirring occasionally and taking care not to burn. Add water by the T, if necessary. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until just al-dente and drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the kale, bacon, and onion mixture and toss with 1/4 cup cooking liquid at a time. Stir in the garlic powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss with the feta and allow to warm through, 1 - 2 minutes, adding more cooking liquid if necessary. Serve immediately.