Working in the test kitchen often means eating lunch in the test kitchen, and one of the biggest challenges is to cook a quick, nutritious meal using ingredients on hand. After a tour of the kitchen fridge, I have all the fixings for hearty pasta: a bunch of kale left over from a photo shoot, basil from recipe testing, and a bit of ricotta. Next, I head over to the pantry to pick up a box of whole wheat penne, some garlic, and red pepper flakes. A hungry colleague generously donated the tomatoes.
Roasted Tomato and Kale Pasta
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 pound whole wheat penne rigate
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves torn into small pieces
- A few spoonfuls of ricotta
- A handful of fresh basil
Heat oven to 400º. Arrange the tomatoes and garlic slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and red pepper flakes; toss to coat. Roast until tomatoes are beginning to burst, about 10 to 15 minutes.
While the tomatoes are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt ("salty like the sea" is the goal.) Cook pasta according to package directions. Add kale during the last 2 minutes of cooking, and stir with a spoon. Reserve some pasta water, and drain pasta and kale. Return everything to pot. Add roasted tomatoes, garlic, and any pan juices. Dollop with a few spoonfuls of ricotta and toss with basil. If the pasta seems dry, add some reserved pasta water.