It may be late spring, but there’s still a lot of kale around in my kitchen. There are many microclimates here in the Bay Area, so it’s often easy to feel like you’re crossing seasons in a single day, in a single city. Berkeley tends to be warmer than many adjacent areas, but we’ve had a fair bit of fog lately, resulting in lots of hot tea and hearty soups. When it turns sunny again the next day, however, the tea is iced and the kale that went into last night’s soup becomes the next night’s salad or pasta. You get the picture.
On the other hand, if you go over the hills, the micro-climates disappear and you just get hot weather. As a result, our markets have been flooded with summer produce: corn, peppers, tomatoes, stone-fruit, the kind of stuff you dream about all winter. This pasta dish is the result of all these things, a true border season mélange.
Border Season Sweet Pepper and Kale Farfalle
2 cups Farfalle pasta
2 dashes olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
12 mini bell peppers, grilled (3 regular)
4 large Kale leaves, chopped in long thin strips
1/3 cup Milk
Flour (a couple dashes)
handful of parsley
Boil a pot of water. Add a dash of salt, and pasta. Cook until al dente. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a pan on medium. Add onion, stirring regularly. Season with salt and pepper. If the onion starts to overcook, throw in a dash of wine. Add garlic, turning up the heat, then add more wine again about a minute later. Cook away the wine, and add the tomatoes.
Add more oil if necessary. When onions looks soft and a bit caramelized, add the mushrooms and bell peppers. Mix flour and a bit of the milk in a small bowl, making a paste. Add the rest of the milk and stir until the mixture is smooth. Pour over vegetables in hot pan, and stir vigorously, making sure no lumps form. The sauce should cook down relatively quickly. You don’t want a real liquidy sauce. In fact, you barely want a sauce at all (just enough “stick” for the vegetables to cling to the pasta). Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for a couple more minutes. Add another dash of wine. If the wine’s bitter, throw in a pinch of sugar. When the sauce is to your liking, add kale and using tongs or a fork, mix. After a minute or two, the kale should be wilted and well incorporated into the sauce. Turn off heat. Mix sauce with pasta, and add parsley. Add parmesan to individual servings, if desired. Enjoy!