Winter Pasta Recipe

I inherited a CSA box packed with greens the other night, inspiring this simple one-pot winter pasta with a sauce made from a full bunch of kale, shallots, garlic, and goat cheese.

Winter Pasta

I seem to inherit a lot of CSA boxes. Friends and neighbors forget to put holds on their subscriptions before leaving town, and sure enough, they end up in my kitchen. When I was a kid there was a house that was always happy to take in stray animals, I've become the equivalent for CSA boxes. And I have to say, it's pretty great.

Winter Pasta Recipe

That said, cooking through a box is always a challenge of sorts. I mean, you want to cook your way through it before things start to go bad, sad or wilted. This always forces me to adapt and try out ideas I might not have considered otherwise. You also have the element of surprise that comes along with each box - not knowing exactly what will be inside each one. Although, there is one thing I do know. The box, whichever farm it comes from, usually includes lots and lots of greens - kale, spinach, lettuce, chard, arugula. Sometimes all of the above.

My friend Dan dropped off a box the other night, and after a quick glance I knew I would need to put a dent in the greens right away. I made this simple one-pot winter pasta with a sauce made from lots of kale, shallots, garlic, goat cheese and penne. Whatever I had on hand. You might tweak it with a different cheese - Parmesan or pecorino, for example. Or even ricotta. You could top it with a some chopped black olives or toasted nuts...I kept it pretty simple here. You can reheat any leftovers the next day, with a splash of water. The pasta holds up nicely.

Winter Pasta Recipe

I know a lot of you subscribe to CSAs and I'd love to hear your favorite ways to use up your greens. I have a bunch of go-to green-intensive recipes I rely on, but if you're doing something unique or unexpected with them on your end please share. I suspect Melissa Clark's kale salad will continue to be in high rotation around here all winter. I keep making it, in part because unlike other green salads that go south shortly after being dressed, this kale salad likes to party. It's delicious, and just gets better as it sits around, fully dressed, waiting for people to notice it. Other favorites? You can't go wrong with a hefty pot of Ribollita - I trade off between that and various takes on this lentil soup to which I add lots of chopped kale.

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Winter Pasta

I used penne here, but you can substitute whatever pasta you like. Spinach can be substituted for the kale if you like as well.

4 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 small shallots, peeled
1 small bunch of kale - 1/2 lb / 8 oz, stalks removed, washed well
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup / 2 oz goat cheese, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons + hot pasta water
fine grain sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
fresh lemon juice - optional
12 oz / 340 g dried penne pasta
fresh thyme - and thyme flowers

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water generously, and add the garlic and shallots. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stir in the kale and cook for another ten seconds. Don't overcook. Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish the greens, garlic, and shallots from the water. Use a food processor to puree the ingredients along with the olive oil and goat cheese. Add a couple tablespoons of hot pasta water if needed to thin things out if needed. Then season with a touch of salt and plenty of black pepper. Taste. Depending on your goat cheese, you might need a little extra acidic oomph if your sauce is a bit flat. If so, add fresh lemon juice a bit at a time until you're happy with it the sauce. Set aside.

Reheat the pot of water and boil the pasta per package instructions. Drain and toss immediately with the green sauce. Serve topped with a few pinches of fresh thyme, and more crumbled goat cheese.

Serves 4-6.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Awesome recipe! I can't wait to try it.


Just another interesting recipe for kale. Somehow I have been eating it only in Indian dishes.

Bogna@Pots and Frills

This looks fantastic-- another classic 101 Recipes find. When my CSA box is overflowing with greens my go to is beans and greens soup. Sometimes I leave it chunky and sometimes I blend it.


Until recently we had an on-farm pickup CSA share and now that we've moved, we get a weekly box delivered. My favorite way to use up various greens is Deborah Madison's Greens with Potatoes recipe- can't remember off the top of my head if the recipe is from The Savory Way or Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, but essentially it's sauteed greens with some cooked potato chunks tossed in, and a little olive oil/lemon juice/vinegar for flavor, plus salt and plenty of pepper.


I love your site and have made several of your recipes. We're in Canada and have received an organic basket (that's what our family calls it even though it arrives in a box!) for about 15 years. Every now and then we get stuck on how to use something but we are mostly inspired. Our go-to recipe for kale and chard is from Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon. It's called 'Pasta with Hearty Greens and Beans' and it is ridiculously simple but delicious. Even our girls love it. (Basically, it is sliced greens cooked in olive oil and then combined with cooked pasta, white beans, lots of garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice.)


I love to make a kale and butternut or acron squash pizza. With some mozzarella and goat cheese or parmesan and lots of crushed red pepper! I also agree with Maggie- garlicky greens with a fried egg, over rice especially, is a great hearty meal that even satisfies my meat-eating husband.


Honestly, I just love making sauteed eggs and greens. Any greens, especially kale or chard, sauteed with garlic & onions, served underneath some fried eggs makes me friends/family every time. Love it in pasta. Any tomatillo recipe suggestions? I just harvested another 10 lbs from my garden?!

Maggie at Eat Boutique

I wish I had forgetful friends like yours :)


This is great! I just got a whole bunch of kale in my Dutch version of a CSA box and was still wondering what to do with it, since I don't like the traditional Dutch preparation, when I saw this post. It's meant to be!


I recently met Giada de Laurentiis and she showed me how to make her Spicy Pesto Pasta recipe! It's very similar to yours, and I've posted it on my site. Absolutely delicious!

A Teenage Gourmet

Kale (or chard etc) flatbreads are the way to go for me. I can get 2 whole bunches in a batch of 8 flatbreads. Parboil then chop them up along with a bit of chopped chile pepper, ginger and cilantro. Mix this into a basic whole wheat flatbread dough and cook on a griddle - chapati style! Serve with chutney, pickle or raita!


Oh this does look perfect for the winter!

Simply Life

Mmmm this looks delicious. So comforting.

Jessica @ How Sweet

We have lots of different ways of getting through greens in our CSA... Asian greens usually get the "Chinese soup" treatment. My mom used to toss greens and a protein (chicken, tofu, whatever) into broth with ginger, garlic, soy sauce and some chilies. Add sesame oil, green onions, and cilantro at the table and you're all set. Kale and other hardy bitter greens often get sauteed with bacon, garlic, and chili flakes and then served over polenta or pasta with a couple of fried eggs and sometimes some cheese on top. Between greens and squash, the winter CSA can take some creativity. :)


Heidi, this looks délicieux! Will definitely be making it this weekend (with fresh French goat cheese, nothing better in the world). I may have asked you this before, but they don't have kale in France - is there anything I can substitute that will lend a similar flavor/texture? Spinach? Chard? Merci beaucoup! Rebecca in Paris


What a great way to use up kale. I'm always looking for pasta dishes that aren't tomato based or alfredo-esque, as I'm not really a fan of either. I think I need to get my hands on a bunch of kale asap!


I've been wanting to try signing up for a CSA box but have been worried about not using everything in it... Hopefully I can come up with more recipes like this, I never would have thought of using kale as a pasta sauce! Thanks for the recipe!

Caroline @ A Cozy Kitchen

Being a Brit I had to look up the term CSA - it seems to be what we call a veg box here. Why do they call it Community Supported Agriculture when there don't appear to be any animals in the boxes? I get an organic veg box once a fortnight and I love cooking my way through it.


I like to add kale to my favourite red lentil dahl. I tried the recipe you shared for Tuscan kale salad and it was gorgeous. I don't think I even knew what kale was before I discovered your site a few years back!

joe @ Eden Kitchen

Hi Heidi, I'm new to your site and I have been really enjoying reading your posts and making some of your recipes. My sister has been following your site for a while and recommended it to me. This recipe looks delicious.


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