Kale with Pancetta, Cream and Toasted Rosemary Walnuts

By Erin McDowell
August 31, 2011
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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. - apartmentcookerErin McDowell

Food52 Review: 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&MThe Editors

Serves: 4


  • 4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
  • 4 large shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large bunch kale, roughly torn
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream (let's just say a healthy splash)

Toasted Walnuts with Rosemary and Fleur de Sel

  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • 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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