I was inspired to make this dish after I saw the homemade Emmer wheat tagliatelle in the Union Square Farmer’s Market this morning. Cayuga Farms has a stand in the market with fresh pasta, breads, grains and flours. Emmer wheat, a whole grain known more commonly as Faro, has a nutty and hearty flavor (you could make this dish with any whole-wheat spaghetti, linguini or fettuccini as well). A few feet down the Queens County farmstand had 2 varieties of kale, Red Russian (flat leaved, thin and tender) and Traditional (curly and tougher). I cooked with both kales, but using only the traditional is just fine. I added the walnuts and black truffle oil to compliment the nuttiness of the pasta and balance out the bitterness of the kale. Truffles are expensive, as are most truffle oils, but Whole Foods has a 2 bottle set (1oz. each black and white) for $7.99. Truffle oil is potent and when cooking with it you only need a sparse amount, so this set is perfect to have on hand. The fresh pasta was $6.50 per pound, kale was $2 a bunch – add in the truffle oil, shallots and walnuts and you can have a fresh, seasonal, healthy and decadent meal for about 5 bucks a person.
Whole Grain Tagliatelle with Kale, Walnuts and Black Truffle Oil
- 1 ½ pounds kale, about 2 bunches
- 1 pound whole-wheat pasta
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 shallots, chopped
- 2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
- 2 ½ teaspoons black truffle oil, plus more for drizzling
- Parmigiano Cheese, optional
Remove the tough stems from kale and coarsely chop the leaves. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cooked until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, a dash of salt and shallots. Cook shallots, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes until soft. Add the kale and cook, tossing frequently, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the truffle oil and walnuts; cook for 2 additional minutes.
Drain the pasta when cooked and reserve ½ cup of cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauté pan with reserved water. Toss to combine, add a dash of salt if desired. Transfer the pasta to a large serving platter, drizzle with truffle oil, and garnish with shavings of parmigiano cheese. Serve immediately.
* For a vegan option, omit cheese
- Kale: One of the best vegetables/foods you can put in your body. Kale contains abundant amounts of soluble fiber, calcium, lutein, iron, and vitamins A, C and K1; optimizing cell detoxification and internal cleansing. It’s known to provide protection against cancer; studies have shown it contains some of the most potent cancer fighting phytochemicals of all vegetables.
- Whole grain pasta: Unlike traditional pastas made of refined durum wheat, or semolina, whole-grain pastas don’t lose their bran and germ during processing. The bran (outer skin of a whole grain) and germ (embryo of the grain), carry considerable healthful fats, protein, antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which have been known to lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity.
- Walnuts: Are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids (the good fats) that have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. Walnuts, in particular, have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts.