Tag Archives: kale

Creamy Orecchiette with Roasted Parsnips, Kale & Cracked Peppercorn

24 Dec

Yesterday was one of those days on which I simply did not feel festive. I suffered from a serious case of the ‘holiday blues’, and on top of that, my uterus decided that it was time to go Beowulf.

So when I drove home with a plan to stop by the grocery store and grab whatever I felt could ‘pass’ as an acceptable dinner in my book, I didn’t expect to be roasting parsnips and cracking peppercorns. As a matter of fact, I was thinking more frozen pizza middle aisle than outer periphery… By divine intervention, I opened Pinterest and saw a recipe for what looked like a simple cracked pepper pasta dish. Tasty & cheap? Why, yes please!

$16.25 later, me & my bah humbug attitude drove home and strapped on the apron. Let me tell you, whacking the living daylights out of whole peppercorns with a rolling pin is seriously therapeutic during that time of the month!

As stated above, I saw the recipe below on Pinterest and was intrigued by the earthiness of the dish. It just looked really appealing and it seemed to be a play on a traditional pasta ‘cacio e pepe’, or a simple cracked pepper pasta. Yesterday was the perfect day to make this. I changed the recipe only slightly by adding cream and garlic, but I think that originally it was a Mario Batali creation.


Creamy Orecchiette with Roasted Parsnips, Kale & Cracked Peppercorns.
(Adapted from a Mario Batali recipe I found on ‘Pinterest’)
– 1 lbs of orecchiette
– 1 Tbsp of pink peppercorns
– 1 Tbsp of green peppercorns
– 1 Tbsp of black peppercorns
– 1 Tbsp of white peppercorns
– 2 cloves of garlic, minced
– 3 cups of roughly chopped kale, approx. 6-8 stems
– 3/4 cup of heavy cream
– 1/2 cup of white wine
– 4 large parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
– 1 cup of grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan)
– olive oil
– salt

Preheat oven to 450F. Place peppercorns in a ziplock baggy, and whack them until you achieve a rough texture. Some of the peppercorns will still be semi-whole, and that’s what we want.

Peel & cube parsnips, toss with olive oil and spread out over a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. Roast in the hot oven for approx. 20 min, until tender and slightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.

In the meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water. When you have a rolling boil, add orecchiette and boil according to box directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a heavy skillet, heat 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil with chopped garlic & cracked peppercorn. When oil is hot, add chopped kale, toss and sauté for a few minutes until the kale starts to wilt a bit. Add wine and cream, and simmer over low heat to allow the liquid to reduce by approx. half.

When sauce with kale has reduced and thickened a bit, add 1/2 cup of grated Pecorino Romano. Add reserved pasta liquid until sauce is the right texture and coats evenly. Test with the back of a wooden spoon: if you can draw a line in the sauce on the back of your spoon, and the ‘edges’ stay put and don’t run, it means your sauce is the perfect thickness.

Add drained pasta and roasted parsnips to the pan with the sauce. Toss and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Serve hot.

** You can also add some cooked Italian sausage, if you like.


Cheesy broccoli and kale frittata

3 Jul

If you are an egg aficionado like yours truly, you’ll love a nice frittata. Frittatas are super easy to make and so satisfying for a hearty breakfast or brunch. But what truly makes them a winner in my book, is that they’re the perfect vehicle to use just about anything you want to get rid of in your fridge. And they’re cheap!

In an average week, I trot to the farmers’ market and/or grocery store on Saturday mornings, armed with a gaggle of reusable bags and my token over-the-shoulder straw tote for good measure and proper farmers market fashion. Don’t hate me, but I love how sassy a bunch of carrot greens look sticking out from underneath my armpit. It makes me feel like I need therapy a farmers’ market siren. When my carload is finally lugged upstairs to our 2nd floor apartment and all that fresh deliciousness is crammed into our fridge like a Chinese puzzle, I’m always anticipating a ribbon from the Pope and/or an honorable mentioning in our local paper for excellence in purveyance.

With Saturdays traditionally being ‘feast’ in refrigerator-land, it often means that come Fridays – when famine sets in – I inevitably end up with a sad stalk of leeks that never did make it into the potato-soup I planned, or a handful of fresh herbs that look like they came from the nether worlds.

Frittatas are perfect for using up errant produce. You can use whatever vegetables and/or meats you like, but the basics are always more or less the same.

frittata kale

CHEESY BROCCOLI-KALE FRITTATA (Adapted from various recipes on ye olde Internet)


  • 6 fresh eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup of freshly shredded Fontina cheese
  • ½ cup of freshly shredded Pecorino-Romano cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 2-3 finely chopped green onions
  • 1.5 cups of finely chopped fresh kale
  • 1.5 cups of roughly chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt, to your liking
  • Pinch of pepper, to your liking

Preheat oven to broil setting. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, Fontina cheese, salt, pepper & nutmeg, and set aside. Over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil and cook the garlic & broccoli florets until broccoli is ‘al dente’ and just about to fall apart. Turn heat to low and add kale. Continue to cook until slightly wilted but still somewhat ‘crunchy’. Add finely chopped green onions, pour egg mixture over vegetables, and gently fold to combine. Cook eggs for 4-5 min until beginning to set on the bottom. Sprinkle Pecorino-Romano cheese over the top and transfer to hot oven until the top sets and cheese is slightly browned, approx. 3-4 min.

I went with a meat-free option, but when you add the egg mixture, you could completely fold in some cooked bacon or pancetta pieces, or cooked crumbled sausage too.

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