Orecchiette with Kale and Toasted Breadcrumbs

While perusing a stack of this months magazines, I happened upon a recipe in the newest issue of Bon Appetit. After tossing out the anchovies called for (can’t say we missed them….) it was a simple and rustic vegetarian pasta dish.


Orecchiette with Kale and Toasted Breadcrumbs


  • 2 bunches Kale
  • 7 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (2 slices bread, see below)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 lb. orecchiette pasta
  • ¾ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated



Strip kale off the center thick stem, discard stem and wash leaves, set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium, add in 3 Tablespoons oil. Add bread crumbs, cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1/3 of the garlic, stir in and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring. Spread on a paper towel lined plate. Wipe out skillet. reserving.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add in kale, push down, return to boil and cook for 4 minutes. Use tongs or a pasta grabber to remove kale, drain in a colander. Let cool enough to handle, squeeze out water and chop finely. Bring water back to boil, add pasta and cook for time on package. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, return skillet to heat, add in remaining oil, red pepper flakes and garlic, sauté for a minute or two, until golden. Add chopped kale and broth, cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Add in hot pasta and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water, tossing to coat. Add in cheese and the remaining water, tossing to coat. Toss with ½ cup of the reserved breadcrumbs.

Serve with remaining breadcrumbs dusted on top, with a sprinkle of extra cheese, if desired.

Serves 4.




  1. This looks quite wonderful. I bet the kale could be swapped out for other greens on hand, too. Like spinach, maybe? It’s my favorite!

    • Yes! I would figure one 9 ounce bag would have been plenty of spinach. And it would have a milder taste as well – Kale can be er…over powering at times! Swiss chard would be good as well.

  2. I have never heard of that kind of pasta before! It sounds delicious though…especially with kale and garlic!

  3. I adore that little pasta. Toasted breadcrumbs sound like a fabulous addition! xx

  4. I’m finding your pasta dishes are the best way to get my picky 3 year old to eat veggies – THANK YOU!

    • I just wish I didn’t have to hide them from my Teen 😦 Last night I stood by him and made him eat half an orange…you would have thought I was torturing him. The Toddler, on the other hand, was happy to nosh away.

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