Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pasta with Kale, Caramelized Onions, and Parsnips

Myles loves parsnips and I love kale, so I was excited to try out this recent Cooking Light recipe. Now, in what I assume will be a typical feature of this blog, I have to admit that a few mishaps occurred along the way. First, we apparently forgot to buy penne at the grocery store. Then, Ruby spit up all over my shirt while the parsnips sauteed (welcome to parenthood). Fortunately, I found a box of macaroni and a clean t-shirt, and the meal turned out great.

I'd definitely recommend giving this dish a try. I've rarely smelled something as wonderful as caramelized onions, white wine, garlic, and thyme simmering together in a pan. The entree is also packed with things that are good for you. In fact, even though this meal is delicious, it's also so healthy that I'm going to assume I actually lost weight while eating it. (Side note: some nutritional information found in this blog may be not be grounded in reality).

Overall, the dish was superior to a lot of the veggie pasta recipes that I've tried, which can sometimes be a little bland. We even have a ton of leftovers, so you could probably cut the recipe in half if you're only cooking for two people. I, however, am looking forward to eating the meal again at lunch tomorrow. Hope you enjoy it!

Pasta with Kale, Caramelized Onions, and Parsnips*

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cups (1/3 inch) diagonally cut parsnip, peeled (about 1 lb.)
2 1/2 cups sliced onion
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (I used a little extra).
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 cups trimmed chopped kale
3/4 cup organic vegetable broth
8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved or shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano (or plain Parmesan) cheese, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat one tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat (I used my wok, so that all of the kale would fit). Add parsnip to pan; cook 12 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring occasionally. Place in a large bowl; keep warm.
  2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-low heat. Add onion to pan; cook until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in thyme and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add wine; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.
  5. Stir in kale and broth; cook, covered, 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Uncover; cook 4 minutes or until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally.
  6. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid.
  7. Add drained pasta to kale mixture. Stir in parsnips, 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper; cook for 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Add remaining 1/4 cup cooking liquid if needed to moisten. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
* Cooking Light, October 2010, p. 198-199.


  1. Lauren, This was delicious! I am having leftovers for lunch today. So full of flavor. Two notes: I substituted chicken broth for white wine, and 1 tsp. grated thyme for fresh.

  2. "Thomas" is actually Kathy Cummings.

  3. Kathy, thanks for sharing! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I really appreciate your interest in the blog. Hope you and your family are doing well!