Kale with Pancetta, Cream and Toasted Rosemary Walnuts

August 31, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

A hearty kale dish that is worthy of your holiday table (without being too much work), but also does double duty as leftovers - just toss with pasta! You may want to make extra walnuts too, just for snacking. - apartmentcooker —Erin Jeanne McDowell

Test Kitchen Notes

When this was served at a recent dinner party, someone remarked, "I like that you don't cook the kale out of it." And this is true: while there are richer elements -- pancetta, cream and nuts -- scattered throughout, the kale itself, only cooked for a few minutes, is what shines through, enhanced rather than drowned out by the other ingredients. Apartmentcooker's toasted rosemary walnuts (sprinkled on top) are genius -- a technique we're sure to repeat on its own time and again. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Kale
  • 4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped (113 g)
  • 4 large shallots, minced (100 g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (10 g)
  • 1 large bunch kale, roughly torn
  • 1/4 cup white wine (60 g)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream (let's just say a healthy splash) (29-44 g)
  • Toasted Walnuts with Rosemary and Fleur de Sel
  • 3/4 cup walnuts (96 g)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (15 g)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary (3 g)
  • generous sprinkling of fleur de sel
  1. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat renders and the pancetta is crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the kale (in batches, if necessary), and toss to evenly heat. When the kale is mostly wilted, add the wine. Lower the heat and simmer until the wine is almost entirely evaporated, 4-5. Toss the kale occasionally as it cooks.
  4. Season the kale with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Add the cream and stir well to combine. Add some more cream, if desired (I usually do). Keep warm.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the walnuts with the olive oil well to coat. Add the rosemary and fleur de sel and toss well to combine. Transfer the walnuts to a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Cool slightly, and roughly chop.
  6. Fold the pancetta into the kale, transfer the to a serving dish and top with the walnuts.
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  • Elizabeth Maxwell
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  • gingerroot
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

61 Reviews

Heather September 12, 2014
Every component of this recipe makes all the rest even better. These are the best roast/toasted/seasoned walnuts I've tasted and they compliment the creamy, bacony green goodness to perfection. The only mistake I made was a bit too much salt...the pancetta pretty much takes care of that for you. Thank you for this recipe (and I love that it doesn't take long to make)
Joanne January 11, 2014
I did this tonight and it was really good. I would make it again. Rather than the heavy cream, I substituted a small amount of coconut cream with a dollop of fat free yogurt. The savoury of the pancetta combined with the bitter of the kale is definitely the highlight of the dish. A unique dish.
Elizabeth M. October 13, 2013
I added whiskey to this instead of wine. I think I'm drunk now.
trixoakley December 27, 2012
Found the oven temp! Sorry
trixoakley December 27, 2012
Oven temp for walnuts?
Juliette07 April 2, 2012
Is. Pancetta healthier than bacon?
Kat November 22, 2015
Not really...it's just cured differently, I believe. But it's oh-so-good!
Barb November 24, 2016
No, it's the same pork belly, but bacon is smoked and pancetta is not.
AntoniaJames September 19, 2011
Made this and served it with dinner last night. Excellent! So easy, too. ;o)
Ms. T. September 17, 2011
Congratulations--this is definitely on my list to try as soon as I come out of denial that summer is over :)
Smallpeace September 16, 2011
This dish is a real winner in so many respects. Kale is so great for you, and, by dressing it up a little decadent pancetta and splash of cream, you make it irresistible to those who wouldn't otherwise eat it. Good for you. I'm trying this one this weekend.
Erin J. September 16, 2011
Thanks - I really hope you like it!
gingerroot September 16, 2011
Congratulations! Looking forward to trying this soon.
Erin J. September 16, 2011
Thanks! Let me know how you like it!
AntoniaJames September 16, 2011
What temperature do you recommend for roasting the walnuts? I'm making this on Sunday!! ;o)
Erin J. September 16, 2011
I usually just do mine in a 300 degree (F) oven...or sometimes on the stovetop so I can keep a closer eye on them (I have a tendency to forget about nuts and/or coconut in the oven and burn it to a crisp).
SKK September 15, 2011
Outstanding - and love you don't cook the hell, I mean kale, out of it.
Erin J. September 16, 2011
Haha! Thanks!
Bevi September 14, 2011
Congrats! This is a great combo.
Erin J. September 16, 2011
Summer O. September 14, 2011
Congratulations! Looks yummy!
Erin J. September 14, 2011
fiveandspice September 14, 2011
Congratulations apartmentcooker! I still haven't gotten to trying this, but it is right at the top of my list!
Erin J. September 14, 2011
Thanks so much! Let me know how you like it!
Midge September 14, 2011
Congrats apartmentcooker!
Erin J. September 14, 2011
ashleychasesdinner September 14, 2011
Erin J. September 14, 2011
Thank you!!
Hilarybee September 14, 2011
Erin J. September 14, 2011
Thank you! I had your dish twice last week!!! It's awesome!!!
mrslarkin September 14, 2011
congratulations!!! so happy for you!
Erin J. September 14, 2011
Thanks :)
wssmom September 14, 2011
Erin J. September 14, 2011
Thank you!