Saturday, December 21, 2013

Braised Broccoli and Kale with Smoked Bacon

Here's a simple, richly satisfying, wintry sort of dish that's lovely on its own or as an easy pasta topping. It's mostly vegetables, and yet the bacon makes it taste, well, full of wondrous bacon.

You can also sub any kind of sausage meat for the bacon—just break into small bits in the pan and brown. (If it's chicken or lamb rather than pork sausage, you may want to cook it first, remove from the pan, and add it back after the veggies are done to avoid overcooking.)

Olive oil
2 strips Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size florets (you can slice up the tender part of the stem, too)
1 bunch dino kale, sliced crosswise into strips
(One easy shortcut is to soak, rinse, and spin dry the broccoli and kale together, after they've been cut, in a salad spinner)
1/2 cup chicken or veggie broth

2 1/2 cups whole wheat fusilli pasta, if desired, cooked according to package directions.

Heat a wide saucepan or large dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, drizzle with olive oil. Add the bacon and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon turns lightly brown in a few places.

Toss in the garlic and press into the pan gently, then add the broccoli and stir to coat evenly. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring once in the middle (the idea is to let it start to brown here and there). Add the kale, stir to combine, and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until nicely browned in many places.

Add a splash of broth, cover, and let steam for 3-4 minutes. Stir, add another splash, replace the cover, and lower the heat to medium low. Continue steaming, stirring every once in awhile and adding a little more broth if it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan too much, until the kale and broccoli are both tender (usually about 5-10 minutes of steaming will do it. And this is one of those lovely dishes that only gets better if you accidentally let it brown a little extra).

If you're making pasta, toss it, once cooked, with a little olive oil, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Serve the kale mixture hot, on its own or atop a bowl of pasta.

Serves 2.

1 comment:

  1. I can see that a small amount of meat gives the recipe great flavor. Of course, everything is better with kale! We love the Delallo whole wheat pastas, too, and recently discovered Jovial Einkorn Pasta (YUM!).