hella green pasta
it's basically a salad.
A WTC subscriber recently made my *hella green pasta* for the first time, and she emailed me to tell me that I absolutely had to share it here. “It HAS to go on What To Cook! Everyone needs that pasta in their lives!”
I hadn’t made this pasta in a while, and boy did I enjoy making and tweaking it this week. I’ve made it easier, more foolproof, and even tastier.
It is so damn good.
AND SO DAMN GOOD FOR YOU.
A pound of kale! Nearly a pound of spinach! So much garlic (but it won’t give you garlic breath!) to help us fight all of these winter colds. Antioxidant-filled EVOO!
It’s the creamiest, most flavorful, delightful green pasta. It might look like one, but it’s not a pesto — it’s just a creamy pasta sauce made from greens, garlic, oil, and cheese.
We start by making a quick garlic confit in one pot while we blanch (aka quickly cook in boiling water) the kale and spinach in a separate pot. The kale, spinach, garlic, oil, lemon zest and juice, and a whole lotta Parm get blitzed together in a blender to create our silky smooth sauce.
The pasta then cooks in the same water that the greens cooked in, so in less than 30 minutes, this gorgeous, restaurant-worthy meal is on your table.
You’ll see in the ingredients list that I’ve specified “high-quality” extra-virgin olive oil. Like I said when making the case for buying high-quality Parm (which ideally you will use here too!), I love to bargain shop for many things in life, but I typically do not with food.
EVOO is one of those ingredients that, flavor-wise, varies majorly based on its quality. Good extra-virgin olive oil tastes earthy, grassy, bright, and peppery. My fave is Kosterina — and you can use CARO15 for a discount — this is NOT sponsored, I just love it. My favorite grocery store brand is Colavita. Low-quality EVOO has little to no flavor, or might even taste rancid. Not what we’re lookin’ for.
High-quality EVOO is preferable in any recipe, but especially so when it’s a star ingredient like it is in this sauce. I promise, investing a few extra dollars on quality is totally worth it here!
When shopping, look for an EVOO in a dark-colored bottle, tin, or any color bottle that’s been packaged in a box (contact with light makes EVOO spoil quickly). Also make sure to use it before its “best by” date. If a bottle has a “pressed on” or “harvested on” date too, that’s another sign that it’s the good stuff. Use your best EVOO for sauces and dressings, and save the bargain oils for more forgiving cooking methods like sautéing and roasting (fyi, the idea that you can’t cook with EVOO at high temps was recently debunked!).
PS: Back to Parmesan — as a reminder, you’re shopping for Parmigiano Reggiano, and you don’t want to use pre-grated.
This is an excellent meal-prep recipe! We’re making a big batch of sauce, the leftovers of which you can either freeze for future-you, bring to a friend who needs a pick-me-up dinner (take them a box of uncooked noodles too so they can cook the meal whenever it suits), or repurpose it in a totally different way to make your cooking load lighter this week.
You could use it as a sauce instead of the whipped feta here, make cheesy green meatballs by swapping the sauce in for the marinara here, use it as the “swoop” for this bowl instead of the yogurt sauce. It would also make an excellent swap-in for the “ridiculously tasty green sauce” in this sheet-pan chicken and cauliflower recipe.
I also stirred in a couple tablespoons of sauce into some microwaved frozen rice and had it for breakfast with a fried egg and veggies on top. So good! Please leave a comment and let us all know how you use your leftovers — whether it’s bringing them to a friend or coming up with your own creation!
Lastly, you can also halve the recipe (just use either kale or spinach, and halve the rest of the ingredients) to make a smaller batch of sauce.
hella green pasta
Serves 4 to 6 (with lots of extra sauce)
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