On the menu

Recipe of the week: rigatoni with kale

Take advantage of the dark greens that are currently in season, says chef Chris Leach

This simple pasta dish is the perfect way to take advantage of the dark greens that are currently in season, says Chris Leach. You can use ordinary green kale or Russian kale – though cavolo nero would also be good.

Serves four people

Ingredients

For the kale sauce: 

  • 400g kale
  • 1 garlic clove – crushed
  • 100g good olive oil

For the finished dish: 

  • 400g rigatoni
  • 40g butter
  • kale sauce
  • 1 lemon
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • black pepper, to taste
  • grated parmesan
Method
  • Wash the kale and pick the leaves from the stalks, keeping the stalks to one side.
  • Put a large pot of water on to boil and season generously with salt.
  • Put the garlic in a small pan with the olive oil and heat very gently until the garlic begins to soften. Carefully pick out the garlic and discard (or mash up and fold in to mayonnaise for another use!). Set aside.
  • Blanch the kale stalks for 2 minutes then add all the leaves and cook until soft, around 1-2 minutes. Drain kale and blend with the garlic oil into a smooth paste. This sauce can be made a day ahead.
  • Cook the pasta to your liking. When ready, drain the pasta and make sure you reserve some of the pasta water.
  • In a pan, heat the butter and add the kale sauce. Toss the pasta in this sauce, adding a little pasta water if necessary. Add a squeeze of lemon and taste – you should adjust the seasoning and lemon until it tastes good to you.
  • When the pasta is sauced, divide among 4 plates and sprinkle with dried chilli flakes, a few cracks of black pepper and grate some parmesan over each plate to finish.

Chris Leach is the chef and co-founder of Manteca, 49-51 Curtain Road, London EC2 (020-7033 6642; mantecarestaurant.co.uk).

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