Squash, Kale, and Orecchiette

On busy weeknights, I usually whip up a quick pasta dish for dinner and throw in whatever vegetables are in the refrigerator. I keep my pantry stocked with a variety of dried pastas, and on this evening, I grabbed a bag of orecchiette and decided to make pasta with the summer squash from this week's CSA share. I also had some curly kale from last week that I needed to finish up, and kale is always a welcome ingredient in my pasta.

So here's how simple this pasta dish is to cook. It took me only 10 easy steps!

  1. I heated up a pot of water to a boil, and I salted it well.
  2. I cut four yellow squash into half-moon slivers, and I tore a full bunch of large kale leaves into smaller pieces.
  3. I put the squash and kale in the boiling water, and let them boil for a few minutes.
  4. While the squash and kale were boiling, I pan fried a few pieces of bacon. Because pasta tastes better with bacon or pancetta. 
  5. When the bacon was crispy, I scooped it out of the skillet and drained the bacon on some paper towels.
  6. I minced a few cloves of green garlic (also from my CSA), and I sauteed the garlic in a little bit of the leftover bacon grease in the skillet.
  7. Then, with a slotted spoon, I scooped out the squash and kale from the pot (leaving the water in) and added the veggies to the skillet to be sauteed along with the garlic. 
  8. I boiled the orecchiette in the squash/kale water for about 8 minutes.
  9. When the pasta was done, I strained it, and then I added the pasta to the skillet with the squash, kale, and garlic. I drizzled a little bit of extra virgin olive oil on the pasta and tossed it with the veggies and seasoned it generously with salt and pepper.
  10. I added the bacon, then I grated some fresh parmesan all over the pasta. Et voila! It's ready to eat! 

As a bonus, I poached an egg and added it on top of my bowl of orecchiette. The yolk creates a nice creamy sauce that coats the warm pasta, which I really like.

This is a pretty basic dish, and you can mix it up and use most any vegetable you have on hand. The best part for me is that when I make a ton of pasta like this, I always have leftovers that seem to taste even better the next day for lunch and dinner.

Buon appetito!