Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pasta with Prosciutto, Kale, and Red Pepper

This pasta is a grown up version of one of my favorite childhood sandwiches ... the BLT. Some of these substitutions make it a healthy pasta.  Prosciutto has a stronger and saltier taste than bacon, so less can be used. Kale holds up better than traditional iceberg lettuce with warm pasta and boasts more nutrients, but it's also got a strong flavor, so it's cut into small pieces. Red peppers add color and sweetness. There's no schmear of mayo on this pasta, nor a heavy cream base. Instead, there's a few shavings of Manchego cheese, noted for its bold flavor. The one thing missing? Tomatoes. Truth be told, I did add some cherry tomatoes to this pasta when I served myself!


8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
1 tsp. olive oil
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped red pepper
3 cups coarsely chopped tuscan kale
3 slices coarsely chopped prosciutto
1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
up to 1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
shavings of Manchego or Parmesan cheese

Directions:  Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, usually about 8 to 10 minutes until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the red pepper, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the red pepper begins to soften. Add the kale and prosciutto, and continue to cook, just until the kale begins to wilt, about another 3 to 5 minutes. Add the drained pasta, along with the reserved cooking water to the vegetables. Stir to combine. Add the tomatoes, is using. Taste, then add salt and pepper if needed. Serve, topping each serving with several shavings of cheese.

Serves 4, easily doubled

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Make more than you need for your meal. This is good served hot, warm, or cold, so it makes a perfect lunch the next day. Eating healthy leftovers for lunch, especially when they're full of wholesome vegetables, ups your healthy quotient. 

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