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Spaghetti with Garlicky, Lemony, Creamy Kale

Spaghetti with Creamy Kale | Umami GirlThere are a lot of adjectives in the title of this recipe. I know it. I almost added “briny,” too — but it was just too much. I’m not sorry, though maybe I should be. It’s just that I need you to know there’s a lot more going on in this dish than meets the eye. Especially because, to be honest, I photographed the leftovers warmed up in the microwave the day after. We’d already picked out most of the delicious bits. I hadn’t even planned on posting what was supposed to be a run-of-the-mill Sunday dinner. But then we tasted it, and it was more game changer than mill runner. So. Spaghetti with Garlicky, Lemony, Creamy Kale. (And a potato and maybe some olives or capers.) I just thought you should know. 

Spaghetti with Creamy Kale | Umami GirlOh hey again. While you were looking at that picture, I was thinking about how to take advantage of the fact that we’re already in oversharing mode right now. Fun question, right? Not for, like, all the time, but once in a while.

Let’s see:

  • I just watched this and ended up weeping tears of joy and shouting ever so slightly at my laptop screen. Later, when I vote in the NJ primary, my eyes will well up again. Because democracy never gets old, even when it gets medium-shitty.
  • Odds are reasonably good I’ll be topping the twice-reheated dregs of this spaghetti with leftover, not-even-homemade seven layer dip and calling it lunch. Although getting that out of my system and onto the screen may have been enough. [Update: Happened.]
  • What else? I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon.

Now it’s your turn. Just kidding, I know no one comments on blogs anymore. You get a free pass to just do you. And maybe make this for dinner, and we’ll call it even.

See you soon.

Carolyn xx

Spaghetti with Garlicky, Lemony, Creamy Kale | Umami Girl

Spaghetti with Garlicky, Lemony, Creamy Kale

Preparation 00:10 Cook Time 00:20 Total Time 0:30
Serves 6     adjust servings

I didn't set out to post about this last-minute Sunday dinner, but we liked it so much that I couldn't resist. It's a tad on the indulgent side for a kale recipe, but I'm not the least bit sorry.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 yukon gold potato, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup capers or chopped olives, if you like
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 pounds Lacinato kale
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Set a spaghetti pot half filled with well-salted water on the stove to boil.
  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a wide frying pan that has a lid (which you'll use later). Add the garlic, shallot and potato along with a good sprinkle of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is golden brown in spots but without a hint of burning.
  • Add the olives or capers, if using, and the cream. Adjust heat so the cream is bubbling gently, pop a lid on it, and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, strip the kale leaves from their stems and cut the leaves into long, thin strips. When potatoes are just tender, add kale leaves to pan, stir to coat, and cook until kale is wilted and tender, about 5 minutes.
  • While the kale cooks, boil the spaghetti until al dente and drain.
  • Add the pasta to the frying pan, sprinkle with the lemon juice, pecorino and salt and pepper to taste, and toss everything together. Serve immediately, with more cheese to pass at the table.


Recipe Notes

  • Note: I love using my Le Creuset enameled cast iron braiser for recipes like this because it's lidded and the enamel makes it non-stick enough for government work without being finicky. There are less-expensive versions out there if the price tag throws you (and I bought a less-loved color at deep discount once upon a time, so that's an option, too). Not to mention that any opportunity to amortize this giant purchase that I made for a skillet cookie is a good opportunity. It's the same way I treat my law degree.
  • Links to amazon are affiliate links. If you click through and buy something, Umami Girl earns a small percentage, which helps keep quality content coming your way. Thank you!
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Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.

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