Winter Pasta

Winter Pasta Recipe

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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I love kale, but it is the other greens I have a hard time with. Sometimes beens & greens with caramelized onions is nice and I also have a good Collard Green Pesto recipe which is nice. Can't wait to hear everyone's suggestions.

This looks amazing! I just made some pesto last week to use up a bunch of my fresh herbs before they die. I also dry them as well, so I can have them all winter.

I like to add sauteed greens to tofu rice bowls a la ReBar (the lovely almost-vegetarian cookbook from the Victoria restaurant of the same name). Since my husband is among the greens-averse, recipes like that are a way to make similar-but-separate meals for the two of us, substituting peas or broccoli for him. One of my favorite greens recipes is Deborah Madison's Green Barley Gratin from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone]. Blanched greens are pureed and added to a bechamel sauce with Gruyere, then poured over barley and baked. Even my husband can't find anything to dislike about that :-). I've been cooking through your archives in the last few months, Heidi, and we have enjoyed every one. Thank you for inspiring so many lovely meals. Can't wait to see the new cookbook!


This looks and sounds fantastic. I was wondering, I recently bought some fresh lavender leaves and I'm not sure how to use them. Do you think I could sub them for thyme in this recipe? Or do you have any other suggestions?

Hi there, Just wanted to send a quick thanks as I've been having such amazing luck with your recipes lately - the coconut red lentil curry, sushi bowl, double broccoli quinoa, asparagus-tabasco butter quinoa are all now part of our regular rotation. It is very refreshing to find so many truly delicious, sure-fire recipes that are also good for us - I will be going through your archives all winter!


Great post. I am always curious too. I usually end up doing a soup, starting with stock, then adding the greens, lots of garlic and lemon. Really good and simple. I will post the recipe soon.

Perennial favourites for lentils: The lentil, roasted pepper and feta salad from The Greens Cookbook (Deborah Madison) is something to return to time and again (I've been relying on it for 15 years or so and everyone loves it. Denis Cotter (two great books: Café Paradiso, Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me) has a great range of vegetarian kale recipes, given how easy it is to grow and buy kale in Ireland.


when i used to subscribe to a CSA, i was making a lot of pestos, soups and stews using the greens. kale chips were also a popular thing.

Heidi - it's like you read my mind (or looked in my fridge). I have a bunch of fresh kale that needs to be used up in the next few days, and this looks perfect for tomorrow when I'm in need of a warm, satisfying lunch at home.

This looks so delicious! I need to try this. love your recipes. I've made the Pumpkin Spice pie four times already--adore it. :)

One of my favorite greens recipes is your baked pasta casserole. I also made swiss chard and pork dumplings this year, those are still in the freezer waiting to be tried, and I finally got that dinosaur kale for the first time in my CSA this week (the last week!) so I might be trying that salad recipe you posted a few posts ago. I want to do some soups, too, all I've done soup-wise is purees so far this year. I am sure I will be trying this as it looks like it will come together in a flash, or the "pesto" can be made in advance.


When I subscribed to the organic veg box in the UK, I never got enough greens, but I was given every week a swede, immediately renamed 'the evil turnip' by my family, who did not like it. I have to admit that more than one ended up in the compost bin, though most of them were mashed or in soup or braised, and eaten by me.

Ooo, thanks for sharing your "use up the greens" recipe. I have everything thing on hand to make it tonight. I think I am repeating what other's say here but maybe that will reinforce the delicious factor of the combination. I use up a large head of bok choy with this recipe, substituting the pork chops for cubes of fried tofu and adding a bit of cornstarch in water to the sauce to thicken it a bit. It has also been a great money saver as it usually abates my need for take out chinese. (broccoli is great in this recipe too). I long for piles of kale because I am addicted to Molly's (orangette) Kale and Eggs. I sub in your veg boullion (my favorite ah ha recipe ever!) and double the kale. And I put handfuls of greens in every pot of soup and beans I make. If only I could get through all the lettuces. Once the temp drops below 40 I am not into salad.

My families favorite is kale chips. The hardest part is making enough of them. This summer I experimented with the mesclun mix that often went to waste and found it was delicious sauteed. Originally only my 5 year old was eating it with the adults, now my 8 year old loves it too. Plus it turns a huge bag of greens into a small bowl. -Robin

With growing seasons as they are in Ontario, we recieved our last CSA box this week for the season. We look forward each week to the surprises of what's been freshed picked. Nothing feels greater than picking wet mud off of freshly dug potatoes. We're fortunate that 1/2 of our box tends to be storage veg, so we are stocked up on squash, potatoes, yams and tomatillas for the next few months. But back to your question - our favorite greens are the beet tops, we sautee and eat as is, or stuff chicken, or eat raw in a salad along with the stems.


I love kale. It's definitely my favorite greens. I use it in everything, and sometimes I just sauté it in a pan with some garlic, and a dash of tamari and rice vinegar, and I just gobble it up as is. I also like to chop it finely, sauté it in a pan and add it to a smash with potatoes, sweet potatoes, ground almonds or cashews, some nutritional yeast and pepper. I top it with some seeds. You may want to top it with a bit of parmesan too. I make this dish all the time in the winter. My kids eat it like it's their last meal. Thanks for your wonderful recipes and ideas.

I love dark greens so so much. This looks delicious!

I make something very similar to this but with spinach and it is more of a simple saute but since I love Kale, I will definitely make the substitution and follow your recipe. I would love to say you had me at Kale, but it is really the goat cheese. Goat cheese on pasta or pizza is fantastic. And maybe a touch of parm.

I've been part of a CSA in Durham, NC for three years now and I love it! One thing I love to do with my kale is make kale chips. This usually involves tossing the kale with olive oil, salt, pepper and other spices (cumin, paprika, chipotle powder and nutritional yeast, in my case) and popping the kale in the dehydrator for about 8 hours. Alternatively, you could bake them in a 200 F oven for about 15 minutes (but you have to watch closely to make sure they don't burn). I also like to make vegan quiches based on this one I usually add some caramelized onions and sun dried tomatoes for extra flavor.


I love kale, it's a terrific green, I will definitely be giving this a go. I also think I'm going to do a half share CSA this summer, I've wanted to for awhile and I think now is the time! I have plans for a big kale salad for Thanksgiving with cranberries, nuts, and blue cheese

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