One of the advantages of living in the Bay Area is that our CSA (community sourced agriculture) service runs all year round. Which is awesome, but that also means that in the fall and winter seasons we get tons of leafy greens like kale, chard, chicory, cabbage, etc. We get pounds and pounds of stuff. Some of my coworkers are diehard juicers and they would just blend the shit out of the veggies with some ginger and an apple and call it a day, but I’m not too enthusiastic about a raw liquid diet. And since all the produce we get in our box is organic it has a shelf life of negative two days and then I’m throwing food away, which sucks, because it isn’t cheap!
So I came up with this recipe, because it’s healthy, and because it’s a great way to use up a bunch of greens in one simple dish.
- 2 bunches of kale (any kinds, but two different kinds is nice for texture), deveined, roughly chopped, rinsed and spun dry.
- 1 pint of mushrooms (shitake and cremini are good, but any kind you like will do, mix and match, doesn’t matter), cleaned and cut into ¼ inch slices.
- two 14 oz cans of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1 cup of diced onions
- 2 large carrots diced into ¼ inch cubes
- 1 packet of frozen chicken and mozzarella ravioli
- the zest and juice of a medium sized lemon
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how much heat you like)
- 4 cloves of garlic chopped
- ½ cup of fresh chopped parsley
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil separated
- 1 tblsp of unsalted butter
- parmigiano-reggiano cheese for garnish
Boil a pot of water and flavor the water with salt. Cook the pasta per the packaging instructions.
In a large frying pan or sauce pan with a lid (needs to be large enough to hold all the veggies and the chicken broth….or just use a sauce pot with a lid) heat ½ tblsp of the olive oil and red pepper flakes. Once the oil is shimmering and the red pepper flakes are getting a little fragrant add the sliced mushrooms. Let the mushrooms brown and caramelize for a minute or two before adding salt and pepper. After about 4 minutes take the mushrooms off the heat and save for later.
Back on the heat add the rest of the olive oil and butter. Once the sizzling sound of the butter subsides, add the onions and carrots. Sauté veggies for a few minutes until they’re starting to brown and soften a little.
Start adding the kale in bunches and with tongs make sure the kale reaches the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and cover the pan to steam the kale for 5 minutes until it’s softened and reduced in size. Add the garlic and the cooked mushrooms and season with salt & pepper to taste. Stir for another minute until the garlic is fragrant and then add the lemon zest and juice. Stir everything together for a minute and then add the broth and let it simmer so the flavors can mix.
When the pasta is done, strain it and reserve between 1 and 2 cups of the starchy pasta water.
5 minutes before you’re ready to serve stir in the frozen peas and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. If you need more liquid then now would be the time to add the reserved starch water now.
To plate, put some of the pasta in a bowl, and ladle some of the veggies and soup on top. Finish with some grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese.
- Most of the flavor in this soup comes from the caramelizing that takes place in the pot/pan before you add all the liquid. Brown bits are good.
- If you don’t like the bitter earthiness of hearty leafy greens like kale and chard, you can use spinach. But spinach is more delicate and softens a lot faster so add the liquids as soon as it starts to shrink.
- Unlike some soups that need to simmer for hours, this soup is meant to be light and delicate like a consommé with bite-sized morsels of earthy veggies.
- Can easily make this a vegetarian dish using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and a cheese or veggie stuffed pasta.