Pasta With Garlicky Kale And Breadcrumbs
- Put a large stock pot of water on to bring to a boil. Once boiling, working in two batches, blanch the kale for 4 minutes. Remove from the pot with tongs, setting it aside on a sheet pan to cool. Reserve the water for cooking the pasta. Once the kale is cool, press out as much water as possible and chop into bite size pieces. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, mix fresh breadcrumbs with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt in a large 10" skillet (with high sides - 2 1/2" to 3" ). Toast breadcrumbs on medium-low for about 5 minutes tossing and moving the breadcrumbs around in the pan two or three times. Add 1/2 the garlic and stir, pressing the garlic in, and moving the breadcrumbs around the pan for another 2-3 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Season with a few grinds of pepper. Transfer to paper towels on a plate to soak up any oil. Set aside. Wipe out the pan (you'll use it to make the sauce) and set aside.
- Bring the kale water back to a boil, adding more water if needed, add a heavy pinch of salt and cook the pasta according to package directions or until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving at least 2 C of pasta water.
- Meanwhile, in the same skillet used to toast the breadcrumbs, heat the butter and remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil on medium-low until melted. Add capers and pepper flakes. Mash the capers, gently (I use the bottom of a heat proof jar - like a canning jar). Cook, mashing for about 2 minutes. The sauce will begin to thicken. Add the remaining garlic, cooking another minute, stirring. Add the kale, 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/2 C of water to the caper mixture, stirring 2-3 minutes to heat through.
- To Assemble: Add the drained pasta to the kale mixture plus about 1/2 C of pasta water, stirring, adding more pasta water until the pasta is glossy. I add about 1 1/2 C total, but if you feel the pasta could use more, add about 1/4 C more at a time. Stir in the parmesan and breadcrumbs, and squeeze 1/2 a lemon over the pasta. Stir. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve immediately with extra breadcrumbs, lemon wedges, fresh ground black pepper and parmesan for sprinkling on the side.