A perfect winter warmer, this light pasta dish is easy to make and sure to impress your dinner guests with its vibrant colours, says Chris Leach, chef at the Italian Manteca restaurant in Shoreditch.
Chris tells us: “This is a great dish for the colder months and when cavolo nero is in season. It’s a vibrant and bright dish that can be a welcome relief from the dreary weather that winter brings. I love how balanced this dish is – the iron flavour of the kale is offset by the sharp lemon juice, confit garlic oil and the umami flavour of the parmesan.
“It’s an easy sauce to make in big batches but be careful when you add it back to the heat as kale has a nasty habit of turning brown.
RIGATONI WITH KALE SAUCE
For the kale sauce
400g kale, cavolo nero, green curly kale or Russian kale
1 garlic clove crushed
100g olive oil
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 into mayonnaise for another use) £ Blanch the kale stalks for 2 minutes then add all the leaves and blanch until soft, around 1-2 minutes.
Drain the kale and blend with the garlic oil into a smooth paste. The sauce can be made a day ahead.
For the rest
A pinch of chilli flakes
Black pepper to taste
Cook the pasta to your liking. When ready, drain it, reserving some of the pasta water.
In a pan, heat the butter and add the kale sauce, then toss the pasta, adding a little pasta water if necessary. Add a squeeze of lemon and seasoning to taste.
When the pasta is sauced, divide it among four plates and sprinkle with dried chilli flakes, a few cracks of black pepper and grate some parmesan to finish.
Visit Manteca restaurant yourself by booking online
Read our interview with Chris Leach from Manteca here