Kale season is here again and hopefully another good garden year creates a flood of new kale recipes. (My kale plants seem to have tiny caterpillars on them which isn’t a great sign, any tips?) Now, if you don’t like kale we have also successfully made this recipe with Brussels sprouts instead. Either way you want that crispy caramelization and strong cabbage flavor to come through against the lamb.
Braised Lamb, Shiitake and Crispy Kale Pasta(serves 2-4)
1. Pat the lamb dry and sprinkle it with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Heat a medium dutch oven to high heat. Add the canola oil until it shimmers. Brown the lamb on all sides in as many batches as it takes so that the lamb browns and doesn't sweat. As it is browned remove to a plate. Pour off all but a teaspoon of oil.
2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and carrot and cook until the onion is soft. Add the rosemary and thyme along with the red wine. Bring to a simmer and reduce the wine by half. Add in the stock and the lamb and bring all to a simmer. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 2 hours or until the lamb is tender.
3. While the lamb is braising you can cook the kale and the mushrooms. In a medium skillet add the olive oil and heat until it just starts to smoke over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with salt. Add the kale and cook until wilted and browned. Remove from heat and reserve.
4. When the lamb is tender, remove from the sauce and shred with a fork, return to the sauce and stir in the mushrooms. You can allow this to sit on low while you cook the pasta but add the kale at the last minute so it keeps some texture.
5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. Cook according to package directions. Hold a 1/2 cup of the pasta water back when you drain it just in case you want it for tossing with the pasta. Drain and toss the pasta with the sauce and kale. If the noodles aren't glossy add the pasta water a few tablespoons at a time (You can also add a few tablespoons of cold butter if you want it even more luscious). Stir in some grated cheese and divide between pasta bowls. Sprinkle with more grated cheese.
Note: We served this with a wide homemade noodle, but use the pasta of your choice.