This recipe is my effort to recreate one of my favorite dishes at Feast Bakery and Cafe in Bloomington, IN, a charming (and reliably excellent) restaurant where I spent the majority of my (meagre) income while I was a grad student at IU. The last time I made it, I served it at a dinner party where three people claimed to hate kale, and all of them left claiming they had been converted. But seriously, how could it be bad when combined with sweet roasted squash, toasty hazelnuts, browned butter, and cheese? —ChristineB
diced winter squash (I prefer kabocha, but butternut is also good)
olive oil, divided
kale, de-stemmed, cleaned, and roughly chopped (my local grocery store sells 200g bags of pre-washed, pre-chopped raw kale. I used two bags)
large cloves garlic, sliced
crushed red pepper flakes
finely grated parmigiano reggiano
blanched hazelnuts, toasted, and finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds
conchiglie, orecchiete, or other medium size pasta that the vegetables can nestle in
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. When it is hot, add one cup of the squash cubes, and cook until the pieces are browned all over and soft. Season to taste with salt, remove from the pan, and set aside in a large serving bowl. Continue cooking the rest of the squash in the same manner, using the rest of the oil as needed.
In the same pan, using the residual oil from the squash, cook the kale, adding a splash of water if necessary to aid wilting. Cook in two batches if necessary. Remove from the pan, and set aside in the same bowl as the squash.
In the same pan, add the garlic and red pepper flakes (plus a bit more oil if the pan is dry), and cook until the garlic is lightly browned. Add to the bowl with the kale and squash.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter to the pan. Cook until the milk solids settle and brown (but be careful not to burn!). Set aside off the heat.
Cook pasta in salted water until it is done to your liking. Reserve about half a cup of the cooking water, and strain pasta. Add pasta and browned butter to the large bowl of vegetables and toss until combined. Add a bit of pasta water if necessary to moisten everything. Add chopped hazelnuts and parmigiano, toss again, and serve immediately.