SOMETHING MAGICAL HAPPENS when you braise kale in dry, French vermouth. The green vegetable loses all traces of bitterness, and takes on an ethereal, sweet taste. Add onion and garlic to the braising brew, toss the works with your favorite pasta, and you’ll have a main course that even the most devout kale-hater will love. Here’s the recipe:
Braised Kale with Vermouth & Asiago
Ingredients for 4 servings
10 large kale leaves (I used purple curly-leaved, but any variety will do)
5 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
3/4 cup dry, French vermouth
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup grated Asiago cheese
Juice of half-lemon
Preparing the Kale — remove stems and also the tough ribs from leaves, as illustrated above. Roughly chop into one-inch pieces. Then rinse the leaves, and pat dry excess moisture with a kitchen towel.
Sauteeing the onion and garlic — In a large, heavy skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until the butter is melted. Then toss in the onion, and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and let cook for 2 minutes.
Braising the kale – pour in the vermouth, and when it boils, add the kale in handfuls. Let each handful wilt slightly before adding more. When all has been added, cover the pan, lower the heat, and braise the ingredients for 10 minutes, or until the kale becomes tender.
Boiling the pasta – While the kale is braising, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, cook one pound of spaghetti, penne, or whatever pasta you like, until it is al dente in texture. Drain well.
Finishing – Add the pasta to the kale mixture, give it a squeeze of lemon juice, and toss about until pasta is cloaked in the healthy, green goodness. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with grated Asiago, and serve at once.
Variation for the Carb-Conscious. Omit pasta, and serve this delightful dish as a side course.
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