Pasta with Kale and Chick Peas


Castellane con spinaci e fagioli is what I would have called this recipe if a)I were a real Italian person (I somehow don’t feel I have the right to name this dish in Italian since I’m not), and b) I were actually using spinach, which I would have preferred. But even though the spinach scare is officially over, and the washed, bagged leaves are back on the shelves, I’m hesitant to forgive and forget. Castellane con spinaci e coli is not something I want to get too close to.

So I grabbed another leafy green, the underdog–kale, and did a good stripping of the leaves from their thick stalks. Then, I took the leftover stalks and sliced them finely on a diagonal (going on with the no-waste kick). Mangia.

Pasta with Kale and Chick Peas
(Serves 4-6)

3/4 box shaped pasta (I chose castellane, which looks somewhere in between large shells and rigatoni)
1/2 large bunch kale, chopped and thick stalks trimmed
1 can chick peas, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tbspn olive oil
1 – 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbspn butter
1/2 cup grated parmiggiano
1/4 tspn red pepper flakes
Optional: fresh basil leaves
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

Boil pasta in salted water. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil, and add kale and garlic. Stir for a minute or two, and add chick peas. Add red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Slowly add cream and bring to a boil. Stir in pasta, butter, optional fresh basil, and parmiggiano, and season with a little more salt and pepper. After a quick toss, serve immediately. Add more parmiggiano on top if desired.

Cost Calculator:
(for 4-6 servings)

1/2 huge bunch of kale (at $1.99/bunch): $0.98
3/4 box pasta: $1.00
1 can chick peas: $0.79
1 cup heavy cream (at $1.89/pint): ≈ $0.65
1/2 cup grated parmiggiano: ≈ $0.50
Olive oil, butter, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper: ≈ $0.20

Total: $4.12

Health Factor:

Five brownie points – it will taste really light and fresh, but all the cream will do its duty. Another way I often prepare this pasta (with pretty much any green veggie) is without the cream altogether, and maybe a little bit more olive oil. But at least with the cream you’ve got all four food groups.

8 Responses

  1. Martha

    Nice. I’m trying it this weekend.

  2. Yvo

    I love that pasta shape! I don’t think I’ve had it before. It looks so fun!

  3. sean

    Tried this out tonight, and I love it’s simplicity–a great recipe that can be put together quickly. Even in my spartan kitchen, I’m likely to have everything on hand except perhaps a leafy green and heavy cream. I think leftovers will be great for lunch, and you could always spruce it up with a little chopped cured meat (pick your fave). I used spinach though, so here’s hoping THOSE issues have been sorted out.

  4. Nancy

    Excellent, I tossed in a little prosciutto in a decadent moment.

  5. Linda

    This is delicious and comes together very quickly. I’ve made it several times in different ways. Once I substituted ricotta cheese for the cream. Another time I added wild mushrooms and prosciutto. The leftovers taste even better the next day since the hearty kale holds up to reheating. Thanks for posting this recipe!

  6. alyson

    Loved the chick peas in this pasta (made it last night) – paired with the kale, it had an lovely earthy flavor. I added a good squeeze of lemon and a splash of white… and a handful of cherry tomatoes, all of which brought the dish a nice brightness. Thanks for the good idea!

  7. Val

    Sounds delicious. I’m trying it as soon as I get home.

  8. PFitz

    This was delicious! Thanks. I did change a little added white wine, lemon, tomatoes, pine nuts and no cream.

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