I love pasta. The wintertime, I eat mostly stew, pizza and pasta. And I go through phases where I eat pasta for 50% of my dinners. Right now is one of those times. I can’t get enough pasta. And this Creamy Garlic Pasta with Kale is my particular favorite. So, much so that I’ve had this pasta 4 nights in a row.
Part of the reason I love this Creamy Garlic Pasta with Kale is because it takes about 20 minutes to make. Its so incredibly fast. And the ingredients are things I always have on hand.
Creamy Garlic Pasta Ingredient Breakdown
First things first. You can’t have Creamy Garlic Pasta with out pasta. I keep an embarrassing amount of pasta on hand at all times. I like to have a variety of short cut pasta like rigatoni, penne and farfalle because I like them for different applications. And, I also like to keep some traditional spaghetti on hand.
I also like to have a variety of chickpea or lentil pastas, whole wheat pasta and traditional pasta. Its incredibly easy to make a protein packed meal with very few ingredients using a legume pasta. My favorite is Barilla, both the red lentil and chickpea varieties. So, use whatever you prefer here, but I used some whole wheat penne for my Creamy Garlic Pasta.
Kale is my absolute favorite green to keep on hand. I like that I can buy it plastic free in my grocery store and that it stays fresh for much longer than any other green, if stored properly. I usually grab curly leaf kale, but the tuscan kale has been looking better so thats what I used in this Creamy Garlic Pasta with Kale. Either variety of kale will work, though!
Making a Creamy Sauce with Tahini and Reserved Pasta Water
Tahini is the secret ingredient in this Creamy Garlic Pasta. It creates a creamy and flavorful sauce along with some lemon juice and plenty of pasta water. Do NOT use roasted tahini. Make sure the tahini you choose is light in color for a more neutral flavor. My favorite brand is Krinos.
Pasta water is also a secret ingredient in this Creamy Garlic Pasta with Kale and in nearly every Italian pasta sauce. The pasta releases starch into the salted water as it cooks. When this salty starchy water is added into a sauce it seasons the sauce and gently thickens it. This makes the sauce coat each piece of pasta creating a delightful pasta eating experience.
This Creamy Garlic Pasta with kale is a great weeknight meal and a great way to eat your greens! I like to serve with a few dashes of hot sauce.
Creamy Garlic Pasta with Kale
- 8 oz Pasta of Choice
- 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 Medium Garlic Cloves, minced or 2 big ones
- 6 Cups Lightly Packed Kale This is about 5 oz of de-stemmed kale, or 1 medium bunch
- Pinch Salt
- Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
- 3 Tbsp Tahini
- 5 tsp Lemon Juice
- Black Pepper to taste
- 6-10 Tbsp Pasta Water
- Cook pasta according to package directions. When draining the pasta, reserve a cup of the starchy pasta water.
- In the meantime, place a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic and cook stirring frequently until the garlic starts to brown, then turn heat to low and add kale, salt, black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flake.
- Toss the kale around until its completely wilted.
- Add pasta, tahini and lemon juice and 4 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to the pan.
- Cook, stirring frequently and adding more pasta water a couple tablespoons at a time until the sauce is nice and creamy and coats the pasta. For me, this was 8 tablespoons.
- Season once more with salt and pepper, and serve.