Kale Lentil Pasta

I need to start an herb garden.  Growing things is outrageously easy in Hawaii because a) endless sunshine b) sporadic rain and c) the air permeates happiness.  Plants love happy places.

But Boston? The basil I bought last week is already showing signs of winter manic depression.  What’ll happen with the mint? The cilantro?  The sage?!  I can’t raise them in such a hostile world that won’t accept them for who they are!  Herbs just want to grow!

Wait, what?

Okay, so I know that indoor herb gardens should be in a south or west-facing room.  But my kitchen faces north.  I don’t want to grow my herbs in my bedroom.  Granted, I’ll treat them like little green children, but this is a problem.

In exchange for green thumb advice, I bestow this easy and protein-ee recipe.

Another thing about Boston, and I swear this’ll be my last weather-related complaint, is that the flippin’ sun is starting to go down earlier.  I come home around 5:30pm and have little over an hour to cook so as to utilize the natural light (Natty Light!).

 It’s kind of funny, actually.  I turn all the lights off in the kitchen, even though the sun’s pretty much gone, and bring my cutting board to the window to take a photo.

I have a thing for caramelized onions.  Kind of an obsession.  Kind of a love affair.  I might need therapy.

This is a pretty loose recipe.  Get creative with it!

Kale Lentil Pasta.

1 1/2 cups lentils, cooked and drained
2 tablespoons butter
1 large red onion
5 cloves minced garlic
18oz whole wheat penne pasta
10-15 large kale leaves, chopped
handful of fresh basil, some chopped and some for garnishing
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

To caramelize the onion, slice fine, as shown, and cook for about an hour in olive oil on medium heat.  Make sure you keep a close eye – you don’t want the onions to brown prematurely.  The browning should come from the natural sugars emerging, not the frying pan.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the penne pasta.  Cook until just turning soft, then add the kale to blanch.  Drain and throw the pot back on the stove, adding the butter, garlic, pepper flakes, chopped basil, and lentils.  Briefly fry in the pot, letting the pasta brown slightly (fried pasta, what?!).

Dress with parmesan cheese and a few basil leaves.  Serves about 5 hungry people.