Kale Pasta Sauce

January 22, 2018

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Kale Pasta Sauce

Image courtesy of The New York Times.

Kale is available in the market almost year round, and, as winter gradually moves toward spring, several varieties will appear. I love the simplicity, bright color, and rich flavor of this kale pasta sauce, which recently appeared in The New York Times.

The Recipe

Yield: two servings as a main course, or four servings as a side

Time: 20 minutes


  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed flat and peeled
  • 1 pound lacinato kale, thick ribs removed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ pound pasta, like pappardelle or rigatoni
  • ¾ cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


  1. Put a large pot of generously salted water over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  2. In a small skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and garlic, and cook until the garlic begins to sizzle. Reduce heat to low, and cook very gently until garlic is soft and begins to turn light gold, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. When water is boiling, add kale leaves, and cook until tender, but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Pull out the hot, dripping kale leaves with tongs, and put directly into a blender. (Don’t drain the pot; you’ll use that same boiling water to cook the pasta.)
  4. Add garlic and its oil to the blender, along with a splash of hot water from the pot if you need some more liquid to get the blender going. Blend into a fine, thick green purée. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, then blend again.
    Add the pasta to the still-boiling water, and cook according to directions on the package.
  5. Ladle out about a cup of the water to save for finishing the dish, then drain the pasta and return it to the dry pot. Add the kale purée, about 3/4 of the grated cheese and a splash of the reserved pasta water. Toss until all the pasta is well coated and bright green, adding another splash of pasta water if needed so that the sauce is loose and almost creamy in texture.
  6. Serve in bowls right away, and top with an extra drizzle of olive oil and the rest of the grated cheese.

This locally inspired recipe is brought to you by Pam Walker. Pam is an avid home cook, writer, and local farm and food activist who is also a board member of the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute. Thank you, Pam, for helping inspire us to use locally sourced ingredients!