Lemon-Kale-Fennel Spaghetti

With the weather slooowly warming up, I've been stepping away from the winter comfort food. This dish is perfect as we transition from Winter to Spring. Although simple to throw together, the flavors combine beautifully for a gourmet flavor. Perfect for a potluck or dinner guests!
 
If you have never cooked with fennel, I insist you make this. Before I joined the CSA, I never thought I would like fennel. As a bona fide licorice HATER (no offense to licorice lovers), I assumed fennel would make an entire dish taste like licorice -- blech. So, I'm thankful to have discovered fennel through my CSA a few years ago, because now I love it! In stir-fry, caramelized with onions, or sliced in salads, yum, yum, yum! The subtle fennel sweetness is the perfect addition to the basic lemon-kale recipe. Delicious!
 
 
 
Lemon-Kale-Fennel Spaghetti
 
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 small bulb fennel, diced
1 bunch kale, ribs removed, loosely chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
 
1. Cook pasta according to package directions
2. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat
3. Cook garlic and fennel for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently until fragrant and browned on edges, then add red pepper flakes and kale.
4. Saute kale until wilted, then add lemon juice and stir. Reduce heat to low.
5. Once pasta is cooked, drain and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Add pasta to skillet and toss to combine with kale mixture. Add reserved pasta water and cheese, stirring well. Season with salt and pepper as desired. I did not add any extra salt, but I did add a little pepper.
 
Adapted from Bev Cooks
 
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