Taking a break from the vacation posts to keep my promise (made on Instagram) of sharing this recipe.
I wanted to make this with broccoli rabe, but then the grocery only had kale so I used that instead. And I think this would be better with penne or rigatoni or some other short pasta, but what I had was papperdelle, so I used that instead. And it still ended up being exactly what I wanted.
I started off looking to make something simple and quick, with a few ingredients - we'd just gotten back from vacation so cupboards and refrigerator were a wee bit bare. This evolved into something slightly more complex, but the flavors are there and it really didn't take much more effort to take it up a step, and definitely still qualifies as a quick and tasty dinner. Garlicky, creamy and comforting, it's perfect for a night in or an impromptu dinner party.
I started with one box of shiitake mushrooms and one box of white mushrooms. Cleaned and sliced and cooked in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat for five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until they've given up most of their liquid and are turning brown.
Next, add one quarter cup dry red wine and cook another five minutes or so until the liquid has been mostly reduced.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of well-salted water to boil. Once it's boiling, cook two pounds of pasta (dealer's choice) according to directions on the package.
To your pan of mushrooms, add six cloves of garlic, thinly sliced; half teaspoon dried red pepper flakes; quarter teaspoon dried oregano; five or six leaves fresh basil, roughly chopped; quarter teaspoon garlic powder (to really amp the garlic flavor); and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate everything and continue to cook for another minute or two; then add one bunch of kale, stalks removed and leaves roughly chopped. Continue to cook for another seven to ten minutes, until the kale is wilted and soft.
While that's cooking, heat one tablespoon olive oil in a pan, then add 2/3 cup bread crumbs and toast for about 30 seconds, stirring frequently, until a golden brown color. Remove from heat and set aside.
Once your pasta is done, reserve half a cup of pasta water, then drain your pasta. Drizzle the pasta with two tablespoons good olive oil and stir in 8 ounces of mascarpone cheese. Keep stirring so the cheese melts and evenly coats the pasta; thin with pasta water as needed.
Add your kale and mushroom mixture to the pasta, along with half a cup grated pecorino cheese and zest from one lemon. Add salt and pepper if needed and top with toasted bread crumbs when serving.