Veggies on the counter

Lentil-Beer Sauce Penne with Garlicky Kale

Posted in main courses by veggies on the counter on January 31, 2013

penne and lentils

Just by looking at the number of pasta dishes posted on this blog so far – this one is the second – you can tell I’m not a huge pasta lover. If I’m only cooking for myself I generally don’t bother about adding rice, pasta or the likes just because I don’t care much for starches – I’ll be more than happy eating cooked legumes, tofu or any other source of vegetable protein over a big pile of either raw or cooked veggies.

Every now and then people tell me they struggle to make a main vegetarian dish because there isn’t a sort of “centre piece” (like a piece of meat or fish) around which the whole dish is built. I never actually thought things had to be like that in the sense that stews, salads or pasta dishes with several vegetables and legumes included can make very satisfying meals. However, having said this, I recognize the fact that this blog is probably lacking some main courses, so here it comes one.

penne and lentils 02

Me and my dad had this dish for lunch yesterday and we both enjoyed it very much. It’s the kind of dish I would serve to my pasta lover brother (and, sadly for me, meat lover as well), as it is very substantial and, apparently, quite appealing to the non-vegans palate. Puy lentils are my favourite kind of lentils to cook with because they hold their shape perfectly after being cooked – regular brown or green lentils do not – and can be used in lots of different ways. The recipe bellow makes a lot of sauce and we ended up eating it today as a filling to savoury chickpea flour crêpes.

A quick note on the beer: I used a very light and sweet five-grain german organic beer in here. You could use pretty much any kind of beer you want when making this sauce but I’d just stay way from strong tasting ones (such as dark stouts) as they could probably lend a bitter taste to the whole dish.

beer puy collage

Oh, and last but not the least: say hi to the kitties! We adopted Pudim (the tuxedo) and Calipo last summer. They’re both 8 months old and truly are rambunctious kittens: as I type this they’re running around like there’s no tomorrow fighting over a paper ball. It’s my first time as a cat owner slave and all I can tell is that I’m in love with these animals and cats in general. They’re quite an addiction. To find them curled up in my bed, sleeping, almost every morning when I’m about to wake up puts the biggest smile on my face.

the kitties

Lentil-Beer Sauce Penne with Garlicky Kale

(serves 4, as a main)

for the lentil-beer sauce:

1 medium sized onion / 120 g / 1 cup  finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

a pinch of red pepper flakes

215 g / 1 cup puy lentils

1 bottle / 330 ml beer

250 ml / 1 cup vegetable stock

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cups / 200 g whole wheat penne

for the garlicky kale:

135 g  / aprox. 2 1/3 packed cups kale, large centre ribs and stems removed and coarsely chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons olive oil

salt and black pepper to taste

suggested garnishes:

fried capers

brewer’s yeast

1. In a large pan, add the onion, olive oil, rosemary and red pepper flakes an sautée, over medium heat, for a couple of minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. If the mixture seems too dry, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water.

2. Add the puy lentils, beer, stock and tomato paste and increase the heat so that the added liquid comes to a boil. Once boiling, decrease the heat to low-medium, cover the pan and let the lentils cook for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked but still al dente.

3. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. After the pasta is done cooking, drain it but reserve a bit of its cooking liquid (no more than ¼ cup).

4. In the meantime, prepare the garlicky kale. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, garlic and kale. Sautée for 3 to 4 minutes or until the kale is slightly wilted. At the very last minute of cooking, season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

5. In a large bowl or platter, add the cooked pasta and its remaining water, a couple tablespoons of the sauce (only enough to coat the pasta) and the kale. Mix it all together with a large spoon and serve immediately, garnished with fried capers or a couple teaspoons of brewer’s yeast scattered on top.

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6 Responses

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  1. womaninrjukan said, on February 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Looks delicious. Having an aha moment about the thought of adding tomato paste. I love lentils and pasta, but this way, my kids should love it, too! (Kale on the side, more for me). So glad you’ve gotten back at it!

  2. womaninrjukan said, on February 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    And thank you for the lentil tip. I hadn’t realized!

  3. ldenslow12 said, on February 24, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Miao! The pasta looks excellent.

  4. Diane said, on October 21, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    I’m wondering if you meant nutritional yeast instead of brewers yeast? As I didn’t think brewer’s yeast was used like this, but I might be wrong (never having acutally used it!) ;-)

    I’m already relieved to have still found your recipes here, I had a link to another kale recipe in my bookmarks and when I tried it just now I was informed that the link to the veggiesonthecounter.com site just expired 4 days ago! Fortunately everything is still here on wordpress ;-)

    • veggies on the counter said, on October 24, 2014 at 12:15 am

      Hi Diane. I mean exactly brewer’s yeast. I like its taste better than nutritional yeast and, just like the latter, it’s also loaded with B-complex vitamins. You can use nutritional yeast if you prefer though. Hope that helped. J

      • Diane said, on October 24, 2014 at 7:00 am

        OK thanks! Now I’m curious about the flavour…. so might try and get my hands on some! ;-)


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