As some of you know, I have an ADHD child whose medicine makes getting him to eat at meals a difficulty. So, last night, when I made this pasta and he went for seconds, I crowed about it on social media. What I didn’t crow about (but possibly should have) is that my oldest told me I did the impossible… I made kale taste good. Soon enough, friends were asking for the recipe.
Please note, I use frozen, bagged vegetables here, packaged spice/herb blends, and bullion. As much as I’d love to have everything fresh, I don’t have a huge fridge, huge kitchen, and I work a LOT. These make it possible to knock out a weeknight meal like this in about an hour.
Also, thanks to my fellow Avalara employee, Aaron, who smoked a whole pork shoulder one weekend and brought me a 2 lb care package that translated into 6 sandwiches and this lovely dish.
Pulled Pork Pasta
1/2 pound smoked pulled pork (unsauced)
1 12 ounce bag frozen chopped onions
1 12 ounce bag frozen chopped kale
1 8 ounce bag shredded Italian cheese blend
1 28 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomato
1 16 oz package cavatappi noodles or large elbow macaroni
3 Knorr mini garlic cubes (equal to 3 cloves of garlic + a little salt & msg)
2 beef boullion cubes (or enough beef base/bullion to make 2 cups of stock)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
5 ounces red wine
5 ounces water
2 heaping soup spoonfuls of a basil pesto
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Start heating oil in pan and add onions and salt. Stir until onions are defrosted and cooking. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add crushed garlic cubes to onions. Cook another 2-3 minutes. Add pesto to onions, cook 1-2 minutes.
Add frozen kale and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to break up kale. Add beef base/bullion, stir until incorporated, and then cook together for another 1-2 minutes. Add wine, and cook everything together for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add crushed tomato and water to sauce pan. Heat to a boil, reduce heat. Chop the pulled pork into small pieces and add to sauce.
Get pot of salted water on another burner to start heating to a boil. Let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, while you wait for the pasta water to boil.
When water is boiling, add noodles and cook for to the bottom end of the recommended cooking time. When the noodles are just about done, spoon one large serving spoon/ladle full of pasta water into the sauce and stir to incorporate.
Quickly drain the noodles, then return to the pot. Add sauce to the pot with the noodles and stir to mix everything together. Let rest for 2 minutes while noodles soak up sauce. If you feel the sauce is a little watery, add a heaping teaspoon of cornstarch or arrowroot in a slurry and stir well. Add cheese blend, stir until everything is cheesy.
Serve a bowl full with a slice of good bread. Should feed 5-7 people.