Here are two separate recipes that I think complement each other but could just as easily be used separately.  First is one of my favorites, Crispy Roasted Kale.  I can think of plenty of easy variations on this recipe but so far I haven't ventured from the tried and true...it's that good.  I crave bitter greens all winter long and this is a quick and easy sidedish that my kids really like.  The second recipe is a simple, creamy spaghetti with a sauce made from whole milk ricotta.  Both recipes were a balm after all of the heavy eating over the holidays.

Crispy Roasted Kale
This recipe could not be more dead easy.  I love serving these greens with roast pork and mashed potatoes.  The first thing you must do is preheat your oven to a toasty 450 degrees.

You will need:
1 or 2 bunches of kale, rinsed and dried
Olive oil
Coarse salt

Now you need to:

Tear the kale from the stem into palm-sized pieces.  Place them on a cookie sheet or in a metal roasting tin. 

Drizzle them with olive oil.  This time I used a garlic infused olive oil but I have PLENTY of crazy ideas for stuff I'd like to try.*

Toss the kale around.  No need to be too fussy.  Pop it into your hot oven.  Check it every five minutes or so and give it a stir.  It's done when it's a crispy and brown around the edges with some chewy parts.  Sprinkle with coarse salt.

This is where it gets exciting!
-whisk olive oil into Dijon mustard before tossing with the kale.
-substitute smokey sesame oil for the olive oil or, better yet, BACON FAT!
-throw in a chili or a few red pepper flakes
-try tossing in a few whole spices like coriander and cumin
-sprinkle the piping hot kale with parmesan cheese or lemon zest

Linguini with Lemony Ricotta
This is like a simple, lower-fat version of carbonara.  First, put a pot of water on to boil.

You will need:
1 pound of linguini
1 pound of ricotta (get the best stuff you can)
1/4 pound of pancetta, diced (You could skip this and use bacon...or make it vegetarian. Hey, it's your call.)
2 lemons (I used Meyer lemons because that's what I had)
1 clove of garlic, minced
pepper (lots)
a sharp, Italian grating cheese (Really, it doesn't matter to me what I use.  Today it was Locatelli.)
fresh parsley, if you have some

You will need to:
Toss the pancetta into a cool pan over medium heat.  Render out the fat and cook the pancetta until crispy.  Remove from the heat, pour off any excess fat and add the garlic.  Let the residual heat soften the garlic.  When the water boils toss in a handful of salt and the pasta.  In a bowl mix together the ricotta, the zest of both lemons, the juice of both lemons, a bit of grated cheese (maybe a palmful?), a dusting of nutmeg and lots of black pepper. Taste it and adjust the seasoning. 

When the pasta is nearly al dente place the pancetta pan back over the heat.  Drain the pasta, reserving the water.  Toss the pasta with the pancetta and garlic, throwing the ricota mixture in with it.  Add 1-2 cups of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce, tossing the pasta with tongs until it is well-dressed.  Garnish with a bit of torn parsley, a wedge of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, a grinding of pepper, whatever.
11/23/2023 08:50:41 am

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