In the Kitchen with Sigona’s featuring Greens
Greens are loaded with beneficial nutrients and vitamins, making a quick and healthy side or entrée. Here are a few suggestions for broccoli rabe, Lacinato kale and curly mustard greens to get you started.
Orecchiette al Forno (with Broccoli Rabe)
This dish, made with Orecchiette pasta (“little ears,” perfect for scooping up chunky sauces), savory crumbles of spicy pork sausage and lightly bitter broccoli rabe, doesn’t have the heavy sauces or molten layers of cheese of many baked pastas, just a touch of ricotta and drizzle of olive oil to pull all the components together. It’s hearty but not heavy. Serve with a flurry of grated Pecorino. Recipe courtesy of Kate Gubiotti of the Scarpetta Dolcetto food blog. Serves 4.
- 1 lb. dried orecchiette pasta
- Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. broccoli rabe, washed well and stems removed
- 3/4 lb. spicy Italian-style pork or chicken sausage (fresh)
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- red pepper flakes
- 6 oz. fresh ricotta
- Pecorino-Romano cheese
Directions: Put on a large pot of very well-salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until very al dente, about 9-10 minutes, according to package directions. With a slotted spoon or sieve, transfer to a rimmed baking sheet to cool; drizzle with olive oil to keep from sticking. Bring the water back up to a boil and blanch the broccoli rabe for 1-2 minutes. Drain over a colander; roughly chop the greens.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, brown the sausage, breaking up into crumbles with a wooden spoon. Add the sausage to the empty pasta pot; drain off the rendered fat and discard. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and over medium heat, cook the garlic for 2 minutes. Add the rosemary, red pepper flakes and the greens. Season with salt, toss to combine and take off the heat. Add the greens and pasta to the pasta pot and gently mix to combine. Add the ricotta, a healthy grating of Pecorino, a bit of salt, and mix again.
Butter a shallow baking dish and transfer the pasta mixture. Grate Pecorino over top. Bake, loosely covered with foil, for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5 minutes more. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with additional Pecorino, if desired.
Local Lacinato Kale, Winter Squash and Cannellini Soup
I love adding a few dashes of Tabasco, a nod to my mother’s family who landed in New Orleans after leaving Sicily. You can also add cooked pancetta, but I left it out to keep it on the healthy side. Serves 6.
- 1 1/2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oil, plus another 1 1/2 TBL or more, divided, for finishing
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 bunch Lacinato kale, stems and veins removed (*see tip below), roughly chopped into strips
- 8 cups chicken stock/broth
- 1 1/2 lb. Butternut squash (or other winter squash), peeled & diced to small cubes (about 2 c.)
- 1 can of Cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained
- A dash or more, to taste, of Tabasco
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish and added flavor
*Cook’s note: Lacinato Kale is not broad-leafed so it’s smaller and more difficult to cut out the stem and veins. An easy way to so this is with your hands: hold the stem at the base where leaf begins. With your other hand, hold the stem between your thumb and index finger knuckle, apply pressure and pull up, stripping the leaf from the stem. Discard stems.
Directions: In a large soup pot, heat 1 1/2 TBL olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, squash and celery. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.
Pour in the stock and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and add in the kale and beans. Cover and cook about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat, season with salt, pepper and Tabasco, to taste. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over individual servings (this brings out the flavor of the oil) and top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Allow diners to add more Tabasco, if desired.
Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Cannellini Beans
Greens and Cannellini beans are a classic combination. I love cannellini beans with kale or broccoli rabe. While I prefer to leave it out, you can add turkey or top with a poached egg; we suggest the Wattle & Comb pastured eggs, available only at Sigona’s.
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe
- 2 large cloves of garlic, sliced
- Pinch red chili flakes
- 2 tsp Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 of one 15 oz can Cannellini beans, about 1/4 cup
- Salt & pepper
Directions: What really works best to temper the bitterness and still have vibrant-green greens is to boil broccoli rabe for 2.5 minutes. Begin by placing broccoli rabe in a large pot of salted, boiling water and cook for 2 1/2 minutes. Remove from boiling water and place immediately in large ice bath. Drain well. Dry with cloth towel.
In a large skillet, add olive oil, red pepper flakes and garlic for 2 minutes on medium heat. Turn heat to medium high and add broccoli rabe and beans. Work well, stirring, until all flavors are melded well, about 3 minutes. Season and serve.
Winter Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Recipe courtesy of Aggie Goodman of the Aggie’s Kitchen food blog. Aggie says, “Lacinato kale has pretty much opened up a whole new world of kale salad for me. It’s not as tough, and has a better, slightly sweeter flavor to it. It makes a great swap for fresh spinach in any salad in my opinion. This salad is super simple to put together and will be sure to brighten up any winter day.”
For the salad:
- 1 bunch of Lacinato kale, stems removed and leaves cut into strips
- handful of dried cranberries
- handful of toasted walnuts, chopped
- handful of crumbled goat cheese
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 Meyer lemon, juiced (in season now!)
- zest from 1 Meyer lemon
- 1/2 orange, juiced (try our pesticide-free navels from Pleasant Oak Ranch in Springville, CA)
- zest from orange
- 1 TBL honey (try our Honey Hole Honey Co. wild sage honey)
- pinch salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
Directions: Prepare salad in large plate or bowl by combining kale, cranberries, walnuts and goat cheese.
In a jar or other container, combine juices of Meyer lemon and orange, zest, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil. Shake vigorously until thoroughly blended. Spoon over salad and gently toss to combine.
Note: Store vinaigrette in container in refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Lacinato Kale Sautéed with Ham and Cannellini Beans
This is my go-to Lacinato kale recipe. Easy, quick and nutritious. See my serving suggestions in the cook’s note. – Carmelo Sigona
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- salt & pepper
- Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 can cannellini beans, with liquid (about 1 cup)
- few ounces ham, diced
- 1 bunch Lacinato kale, leaves stripped from stems, leaves chopped, stems discarded
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
In a sauté pan, over medium-high heat, sauté 1/2 yellow onion, seasoned with salt & pepper, in olive oil 2-3 minutes with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Dice a few ounces of ham and add it along with 1/2 can of cannellini beans with liquid to the oil. Work all ingredients together for a couple of minutes, this really marries the flavors together.
Work the chopped kale into the mixture and cook, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover turn up the heat to let the greens absorb some of the juices, mix well and serve.
Cook’s Note: I like this for a complete meal topped with a poached Wattle & Comb pastured egg or as a side veggie.
Sri Lankan Mustard Greens
Recipe courtesy of Nupur of the food blog One Hot Stove. Nupur says, “the resulting greens were absolutely flavorful without being bitter or harsh in the least. I served the Sri Lankan mustard greens with eggs cooked in a Sri Lankan coconut milk sauce and some steamed rice, for a wonderful Sri-Lankan themed Sunday night dinner.”
- 1 bunch curly mustard greens, shredded (sliced very thin)
- 8-10 curry leaves (We’ll have the curry leaves in our store later this week)
- 1 medium onion, cut in half then sliced
- 1 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oil
- 2-3 fresh, hot chilies (your preference), cut into thirds (use more or less chilies depending on heat level preferred)
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- salt, to taste
- 2 TBL grated coconut (fresh or dried, unsweetened)
- 2 TBL water (may not need)
Directions: In a large skillet, heat a couple of teaspoons of oil on medium heat. Add onion, curry leaves and fresh chilies. Sauté for 4-5 minutes or until the edges of the onion start to brown.
Add the shredded greens, turmeric and salt to taste. Stir around and mix well until the greens start to wilt.
Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the greens are cooked and tender. If the greens aren’t creating enough steam to steam-cook, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan.
Remove from heat and stir in the coconut. Serve as is as a side or as noted above.