I hope you had a lovely Easter and enjoyed the holidays. We had a lovely Easter and a very busy two weeks. As always around this time I like to take some time away from the blog and social media. I’m not very good at social media at the best of times, I sort of have a love-hate relationship with it. So it’s always good to take a little break. Social media I can take or leave, I love this little blog of mine though! And I always come back to the blog feeling energized and full of ideas after a break, so it’s a win-win and it’s good to be back! With that in mind, I wanted to share this recipe for Lemon Garlic Pasta with you today.
This recipe came about one evening when we came home after a busy day, the rain was pelting down, there wasn’t much in the fridge, no one was going out to the shops, but we all wanted pasta. Doesn’t everyone want pasta when you’re exhausted and the weather is crappy? So I somehow managed to throw this lemon garlic pasta dish together and everyone was happy. Hunger is the best sauce! At least I thought that’s why this went down so well, but no, they wanted it again and again, funny how some meals become favourites when you least expect it.
Now, this is a family favourite so I have refined it a little since I first cooked it. Cooking the garlic in the oil then removing it gives this dish a lovely garlic taste without it being too strong, which is great for kids who aren’t too fond of that strong garlic taste. The lemon zest and juice really lifts the flavour of the kale and yes it probably makes it more palatable for kids, this is definitely my experience. Toasted pine nuts give a warm and toasty balance to all that lemon and kale and the saltiness of the parmesan takes away any tartness from the lemon. The black peppercorns add a nice little kick of heat, but if you’re not into that then take them out the same time as the garlic.
This lemon garlic pasta is a simple recipe but is none the less tasty and satisfying. I usually make it with spaghetti, sometimes whole wheat spaghetti, but linguine or fusilli pasta works well too. I have also made this with chopped crispy bacon and sliced black olives both work very well too, together or on their own. This dish is really best served straight away, it doesn’t reheat very well. It is nice cold though so if you want to take it to work for lunch then keep in the fridge once cooled then add the extra virgin olive oil and parsley before you eat it rather then adding them at the end of cooking.
Lemon Garlic Pasta with Kale
- 50 g pine nuts, (1 3/4 oz or 1/4 cup)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 fat cloves of garlic crushed
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 150 g kale (2 1/4 cups) washed, chopped, woody stems removed
- 250 g spaghetti (3 1/2 cups) dry weight
- 1 large handful of fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
- 20 g finely grated parmesan + more for serving
- 1 1/2 large lemons, zest and juice of one + use the other half for serving
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until they are golden brown, remove from the pan and set aside.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil then cook the pasta until al dente.Drain your pasta, but let the colander sit over the pasta saucepan so you collect some of that pasta water, you just need about a tablespoon.
- Slowly heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, add the crushed garlic and whole peppercorns and cook gently for 5 minutes over a low to medium heat. The oil should be bubbling around the garlic. Do not let the garlic burn. Fish out the garlic after 3- 5 minutes, leave the peppercorns in the oil.
- Add the kale to the olive oil and gently saute until the kale has turned bright green and is slightly wilted. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest and salt and cook for a minute.Now add in the pine nuts, parmesan and the water from the pasta. Stir over a medium heat for about two minutes.
- Add the pasta to the kale then add the parsley and extra virgin olive oil. Toss gently then serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan, some lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice if you wish and some freshly cracked black pepper.
- Calories listed are approximate.
- Cup sizes are approximate, I use a metric scale to weigh all ingredients.
- I used spaghetti but linguine or fusilli works well too.
- Kids won't eat kale? Try substituting spinach and up the quantity to 200g.
- If you have kids that are not into spicy food or are quite young then I would remove the peppercorns when you remove the garlic.
- Want a creamy version of this? Add in a heaped tablespoon of creme fraiche when you add the pasta water and stir well.
- Need some meat in this? Bacon works really well in this recipe, chop 3 slices of smoked bacon, fat removed then add to the saute pan when you add the kale.
- If you want to keep this vegetarian please use your favourite vegetarian parmesan.
- Want to make this vegan? Omit the parmesan and try a little nutritional yeast over the finished dish.
More quick and tasty pasta dishes for busy weeknights:
- Spring Vegetable Pasta Salad
- Spaghetti with Kale, Mushrooms and Lentils
- Creamy Mushroom and Chicken Tagliatelle
- Linguine with Prosciutto, Peas and Lemon
- Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Pasta
If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious food.