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.

weeknight express

Sign up for my weekly-ish, ad-free newsletter, with recipes, inspirations, what I’m reading / watching / shopping.
(You’ll get a link for a free PDF e-book with 10 recipes)

weeknight express

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!

Apologies, comments are closed.


Last night I made your "matchstick pasta" with kale, pomegranate, pistachio pesto and wheat pasta. The sweet of the fruit is wonderful with the kale.


I have a daughter who is allergic to pine nuts so I've been experimenting with new versions of pesto. So far the best is almonds, young rocket (old is too bitter), parmesan, garlic and olive oil. Of course, they don't really go in for pesto in Bologna...

Just received the most beautiful carrots with fine, delicate fronds. Never tried to use them before, but found an internet recipe for a pesto using them. Blanched them quickly and then used an aged provolone as the cheese. A bit weird, but I think I really like it.


I'm obsessed with the simple recipe of rice vinegar and soy sauce - it brings out the sweet in any bitter green, and people who hate collared greens even when doused in bacon grease have loved it.


I would love to be a CSA- spca- but sadly i missed the boat this year and so did all my friends. xoxo bianca

what I would do for just one CSA box! this pasta sounds amazing - it's nice to see a sauce that isn't creamy, tomato, or pesto.

My husband and I run a CSA and we have tons of recipes for greens, but it never seems to be enough for our members. We are constantly asked for good recipes they can use up their greens with. Actually my current blog post is all about our love of greens. This recipe is something I will start suggesting to our members. Thanks!

Looks tasty. I always like ways to use up the greens that we get in our CSA. Earlier this week I used 2 bunches of spinach, 2 bunches of beet greens and a bunch of mustard greens in a spanikopita, spinach cheese pie, dish and it turned out fantastic!


I love making kale pesto for pasta -- so delicious and healthy. And if I'm completely out of ideas, I always make kale chips before the greens start wilting.

I forgot to say, you have to add the cornmeal slowly, stirring the entire time, or it will all clump together!


My favorite way to use up greens is in a big pot of polenta. First, saute garlic, shallots, leeks, or whatever you have on hand in some olive oil. Then add 4 cups salted water, boil, and add 1 cup polenta (or cornmeal). Keep stirring until almost completely soft, add some chopped greens (any will do), and cook until done. Then add a big handful of shredded cheese (I like cheddar or goat cheese) and some fresh herbs. This is really good with a fried egg.


I always love a new recipe with kale! Such a gorgeous colour. Thanks for sharing.

I tried kale for the first time when it came in my CSA, and after making Mark Bittman's kale soup (with wheatberries, tofu and potatoes)--it's a favorite! This soup from the "Vegetarian Bible" is a winter staple for us, and I've mixed in chard and other greens in a pinch. I also made a fantastic cabbage and kale gratin that beat away the rainy fall blues we get in Boston.


Oh, I just bought a whole bunch of kale from the farmer's market! I don't have any penne though... but I just stocked up on soba. So I might do a soba bowl, using sesame oil and adding some fresh ginger to the mix as well!

for a few weeks, we got tons of MASSIVE arugula in our CSA box, too tough and spicy to throw in a salad. i think the most creative thing i did with it was to make a timbale out of leftover lemony tomato-zucchini risotto, filled with a ton of blanched arugula and an herbed bechamel. it was one of those shocking experiments in which a few not-so great ingredients (once-frozen, texture destroyed risotto) turned into something really delicious, crisp on the top and sides, creamy and tangy in the middle, and with a bold undertone from the greens.


Heidi, this pasta dish looks SO hearty and heart warming. I happen to be getting ready to headout to the market and MUST get the ingredients! Anything with goat cheese and kale ROCKS in my book! -Mary

This pasta looks so wonderful ... and healthy! I just posted a Sephardi Pickle recipe that you may like ... it will use some of your cabbage greens, but also cauliflower, carrots, and any other good veg you think to combine...

kale pesto...that sounds delicious, I really need to join a CSA, It looks like such a great way to produce creativity

Comments are closed.

Apologies, comments are closed.

More Recipes

Popular Ingredients