Sunday, May 28, 2017

Cavatappi with Kale Ragu

Stirring the Pot is 9 years old this year, and the last time I checked, I had shared almost 900 recipes over the years! Now, from time to time my husband will many more recipes can you try? Haven't you run out yet?  The answer is always the same: NO!

In fact, from time to time I have been known to have one recurring dream. It's always the same. In my dream I'm running from someone who is trying to kill me and my one request is "No. No. You can't kill me yet. I have way too many recipes left to cook."  Now I've shared this dream with regular everyday people and they look at me like I have two heads, but I know my fellow cooks and food lovers will totally understand. My recipe list is never-ending! My Pinterest boards are exploding and it is quite realistic, even if I live to be 100, that I will never get to all the recipes on my list! 

Of course, saying that, from time to time I will share similar recipes, the same type of dish but by a different chef, or with another variation. I've shared endless versions of mac and cheese and I'm sure they'll be more. I've also shared a couple versions of pot roast, and of course, roast chicken.

I've also shared a very similar version of this Cavatappi with Kale Ragu before. Back in 2010, Mario Batali came out with his Molto Gusto cookbook and in it was the most delicious recipe for Pennette with Swiss Chard Ragu.  Having never had a swiss chard ragu before, I was curious and set out to make it straight away! It was love at first bite and when I posted it, I regaled it as one of the most delicious dishes I had made all year! So, when I noticed that Hugh had a similar version for a kale ragu in his River Cottage Veg cookbook, I knew it must be made.

And you know what? This Cavatappi with Kale Ragu was equally delicious!  The recipes were very much the same, with the major difference being just the difference between kale and swiss chard. So, if you're looking for a killer pasta dish, then I would highly suggest either one (click the link to be redirected to the swiss chard recipe). This pasta has texture, incredible flavor, is quite cheesy, and is ultimately comforting! Need more convincing...the whole pot should costs less than $5! A win-win all around! Make it. You won't be sorry!

Cavatappi with Kale Ragu
Adapted from River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall
Serves 4-6

1 big bunch of kale
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 fresh red chile, or red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, finely slivered
salt and black pepper, to taste
10 ounces Cavatappi or other pasta
butter, to taste
Parmesan cheese, to taste
*1 cup pasta water, reserved from cooking pasta

Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil so that you're ready to cook the pasta while the sauce is coming together. Remove the thick stems from the kale and slice into shreds.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the chile and garlic and some salt and pepper, and continue to cook for 3minutes, until the garlic is no longer raw.

When the onion is almost cooked, add the pasta to the pan of boiling water and cook until al dente, adding the greens to the pan about 3 minutes before the pasta is done cooking. At this point I used a 1 cup measure to ladle out some of the pasta cooking water. I added this water to the kale mixture, along with a good-sized knob of butter and a fair amount of Parmesan cheese to make a creamy mixture.

Drain the pasta and in the pan with the kale until thoroughly mixed. Check for seasoning, adding more pasta water to make it creamier, or perhaps more salt and pepper, and or cheese, if needed.  Serve immediately with lots of grated cheese!

Theme: Escape To River Cottage


  1. It does look quite good, and will cost me even less than $5 if I use some of my never ending collard greens for the kale :) Enjoy your Holiday!

  2. What a delicious way to get your greens.

  3. So pasta water does double duty and brings the kale to the pasta party. I must try this. Thanks for the tip.

  4. This recipe actually reminded me of that Batali recipe the second I saw the title! How funny that we both had that association. Happy 9 years!!!

  5. Happy 9th Blog Anniversary! I don't believe I had seen Cavatappi pasta where I am located before, maybe something slightly similar. Will pay more attention when I am next in the pasta section.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! At the moment I am having a huge problem with spam so I've had to add comment moderation and close off comments to anonymous users. I apologize for the trouble and hope to return my comments to normal shortly.