When I was a little girl I had an aversion to all foods green. With the possible exception of cucumbers (but peeled to within an inch of their life), there was not much green that passed my lips until I finally started eating the simple stuff – salad and peas – sometime around high school. It wasn’t until living in France where access to fantastically fresh produce at the local marché is a right (not a privilege) that I started eating greens and asparagus. And although I’m still not so sure about collards and brussel sprouts, I’ve (thankfully) finally lost the one thing I had in common with President Bush Sr., the dislike of broccoli.
|Look, LŪK - leeks!|
Luckily my boys have not inherited this mistrust of the vitamin-rich green foods, and while there are some that they aren’t fond of, mostly they’ll give it a try. And like typical kids, what they love one day might be declined the next, so I just keep trying new things and repeating the stuff that works. It helps when there are wonderfully fresh seasonal greens (ramps and asparagus being two of my favorites this spring) available at our local stores: Swamp Rabbit Grocery, the SC farmers market and the Tomato Vine. However it’s even better when it’s coming out of our garden, and this spring I have an abundance of kale.
|fresh rosemary from the garden|
As kale sautéed with garlic hasn’t been as agreeably received by the rest of the lodgers as by yours truly, I’ve been working with other options. Mixed in with a fresh salad seemed to work well until it suddenly didn’t, despite the boys’ insatiable appetites for the stuff when we toured Ēriks’ and Linda’s garden in DC. And cooked into anything it always earned a big “what’s that green thing,” making it a lot more work to get them to eat it than I have patience for.
So I present to you my recipe for fettucine with shrimp, kale, bacon and goat cheese, inspired by an old Bon Appétit recipe. It’s for when you feel like making a nice dinner, or have guests coming over, but still want something rather straightforward. When you’ve been out hiking all afternoon and need a good hearty spring meal that will fill you up on a cool, rainy evening. Or when you feel like ignoring the mess in the living room and the misbehaving, mess-making boys and concentrate your energies in the kitchen. I kept the fettucine separate, thereby giving the boys the choice of eating it together or individually.
(Oven-roasted asparagus makes a tasty side dish to the fettucine. This spring’s favorite variation is tossed with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, minced garlic and sea salt, then roasted at 425˚ for about 15 minutes.)
Fettucine with shrimp, kale, bacon and goat cheese
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 thick bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
4 cups coarsely chopped kale
1 lb fettuccine
6 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Combine the tomatoes and vinegar in bowl, and let stand until tomatoes release their juice, about 15 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels.
Add shrimp to the same skillet and sauté until done, about 4 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
Sauté the leeks for about 3 minutes, then add garlic and rosemary, stirring all the while. Mix in the tomatoes, shrimp and bacon, and simmer until tomatoes are heated through, about 4 minutes. Finally add in kale and simmer until wilted, about 1 minute.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package. Drain.
Transfer pasta to large bowl. Add the goat cheese, 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and the tomato/kale mixture and toss to combine.