I am having major writer's block while trying to brainstorm enough words to make a post on this absolutely delicious pasta. But words are leaving me. Blank brain. Fingers just keep moving and after about 8 minutes you'll have unwittingly typed up enough describing details to make people want to eat kale. And sweet potatoes. And bacon. And pasta. Because after I get to thinking about eating this pasta my fingers are seemingly moving very fast because this pasta was delicious! And healthy! And easy to make! So get excited people.
No, that's not dirt on my pasta. It's cinnamon! This was the type of recipe I created on the fly. It all was born out of my current obsession to rid my freezer of all my summer preserving remnants, in this case a HUGE bag of frozen blanched kale. And because of the fact that I am trying to store a 1/2 cow in my freezer and there is seriously not enough room for it, so it's just sitting in cardboard boxes next to the freezer. But that's OK if you live in a subzero climate, like Minnesota. Anyway, back to that dirt looking stuff on the pasta...it's cinnamon! I totally just decided mid-recipe to dust a teensy bit into the pasta. It just adds a teeny tiny bit of sweetness. And pairs so well with the sweet potato. I just did a pinch, so to describe that in my recipe I used the word "scant." MmmK? I'm hoping that makes sense to anyone who may attempt this recipe.
As I cooked on the fly, I decided to add cream and parmesan at the last minute. But neither of those things are necessary. They are just
extra fattening a way to add different dimensions of flavor and texture.
If you want to keep this vegan, it would still be absolutely delicious without the dairy. But if you do dairy, you need to be generous with the cream and parm. I wasn't. Look...I really missed half of the pasta. What's wrong with me? Nothing! After eating bowls of kale pasta!
In fact, I was almost convinced to not even add the pasta. After I had sautéed the sweet potatoes, added the garlic and red chili flake and that got to smelling yummy the kale went in and after giving that a stir I was convinced I didn't need bow ties in my vedge. But, I quickly stopped convincing myself of something so utterly healthy. Maybe next time. K? Remember that. A healthy sauté of sweet potatoes and kale with spicy chili and pungent garlic. Yummmer! Healthy! Easy! Fast! Whoa. Who's excited?
This pasta didn't reheat like a dream, so if you are reheating yours make sure to add a splash of cream or water to your bowl when you nuke it...maybe that'll make it more dreamy. Or you could just serve it to a huge, hungry family that devours it like animals. No, I'm sure only my family does that. Next to the lego pile that perpetually clutters our table. Ho Hum.
Printable Recipe Here
Kale, Sweet Potato, & Bacon Bow Tie Pasta
3/4 pound pasta, bow tie or other similar shape
1/2 pound bacon
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled, small dice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon red chili flake
4 heaping cups kale, chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3/4 - 1 cup pasta water
Scant 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup 1/2 & 1/2 (optional)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (optional)
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a rapid boil. Drop pasta and boil for 7-8 minutes, until just al dente. Once finished cooking reserve a cup of the pasta water and drain pasta.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat EVOO over moderate heat. Add diced sweet potatoes and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 7-8 minutes until beginning to brown and caramelize. You may need to cover the pan for a couple minutes if potatoes are not becoming soft. Once fork tender remove sweet potatoes from pan and reserve.
Using the same skillet, brown the bacon over medium heat until golden and crispy, about 8-9 minutes. Move cooked bacon to a paper towel. Crumble when cool enough to handle.
Heat the same skillet over moderate heat and add crushed garlic and red chili flake, sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add kale and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 4-5 minutes until wilted and softened. Return sweet potato to skillet and give that a toss. Add cooked pasta, lemon juice, zest and pasta water 1/4 cup at a time. Season with cinnamon and salt and pepper. Add 1/2 & 1/2 and Parmesan, if using. Top with crumbled bacon.