Whole wheat and multi-grain products are healthier alternatives to our “standard” wheat pastas. We are fortunate that many pasta manufacturers are now providing those alternatives to us. Choose those that add ALA Omega-3, which is not only associated with heart health benefits and anti-inflammatory properties, but also are associated with a reduced risk of AMD. For an even better punch, mix with kale, which provides lots of vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium and iron. It is also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies have shown that persons with diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin, besides reducing the risk of AMD, were also less likely to need cataract surgery.

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Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb kale (2 bunches)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4-8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (to taste)
  • Good pinch red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 1 15 oz can white canellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 lb multi-grain pasta such as spaghetti, fettuccine, rotelle...
  • 1 tbsp juice from small lemon and zest
  • Finely grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Remove large center ribs and stems from the kale. Cut crosswise into ½-inch slices. Rinse and drain (kale will still have water clinging to leaves).

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. 

  3. Add the sliced garlic and pepper flakes and sprinkle with salt. Continue cooking and occasionally stirring the onion/garlic mixture until the onions are golden brown, about 5 minutes.

  4. Add the kale and remaining olive oil and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally and adding water by teaspoonfuls if dry, about 20 minutes. 

  5. Gently stir in the cannellini beans to heat.

  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in medium pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally (follow manufacturer’s directions, checking a few minutes before total time).

  7. Reserve ½ cup cooking liquid, and drain pasta. 

  8. Add pasta to the kale mixture in the pot. Add the zest and lemon juice and 3 tablespoons cooking liquid; toss to combine, adding more liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry.

  9. Sprinkle pasta with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Recipe Notes

Add some toasted chopped walnuts to the finished dish. Instead of the beans, substitute either 1 pound crumbled spicy sausage (chicken, turkey or pork – casing removed) or ¾-1 pound thinly-sliced Kielbasa (sauté with the onions before the kale is added). Swiss chard can substitute for the kale.

For those with wheat allergies, try pastas made from other starches, such as brown rice.