This is a very pretty dish. It also happens to be delicious and best of all you can cook almost everything in one pan. So win, win, win. There are bright red peppers and a sauce made with paprikas and spices and cheese that turn it a rich beautiful orange and then it’s studded with the bright green kale. Colorful food is supposed to be healthy for you right, so just quickly brush past the half and half and sour cream and focus on that.
Because this is good, it takes the rich hearty goodness of the classic Hungarian dish and puts a really fresh spin on it. And, perhaps best of all, it makes wonderful leftovers. So make this for dinner tonight and you have lunch set for the next couple days too.
To pair with your dinner, and maybe your lunch too, no judgment here, grab a lush spicy Syrah. One of the biggest “rules” in pairing is to match your food and your wine, meaning match weight with weight, complexity with complexity, richness with richness and so on. So this dish with all these layers of flavor: the fresh bright kale, caramelized peppers and onions, rich creamy cheese and sour cream, and the warm spice of the paprika, needs a similarly complex wine. Syrah is known for being deep, lush and concentrated, which is why it goes so well with this pasta.
Adapted from The Best Cookbook Ever
- ½ bunch kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into julienne
- 1 small yellow onion, cut into julienne
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup half and half
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- 12 oz aged cheddar cheese, but into ½ in cubes
- 1 Tbsp Frank’s RedHot cayenne pepper sauce
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
- ¾ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 lb rigatoni
- 2 pieces crusty bread, drizzled with olive oil and toasted and cubed into bite size pieces
- Bring a medium pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the kale to the boiling water and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Have a large bowl filled with ice water ready. Once the kale is bright green transfer the kale to the ice bath to stop the cooking. Once it has cooled drain the kale, making sure to squeeze out any extra water. Set aside for later.
- In a large sauté pan over medium heat warm the olive oil. Once the oil is hot add the peppers and stir until soft, about 5 min. Then add the onion and cook for an additional 6 minutes so that they onions start to caramelize. Add the garlic and stir vegetables together. Next add the tomato paste and cook for about 2 minuets so that it incorporates with the vegetables and starts to darken. Add in 1 tbsp butter, the flour, and 1 tsp salt. Cook this mixture for 3 minuets stirring the whole time. Then add the half and half and bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Cook according to package instructions until the pasta is al dente, about 10-12 minutes.
- Once the sauce is simmering, add the cheese, hot sauce, paprikas, and red pepper flakes. Stir until the cheese has just melted then mix in the sour cream. Stir to combine everything then remove from heat and cover to keep warm as the pasta finishes cooking.
- Drain the pasta and then transfer to a large bowl to mix with the sauce, kale and breadcrumbs. Toss to combine and serve.