Farfelle with Kale and Bacon

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Farfelle with Kale and Bacon is a quick yet flavor-packed weeknight dinner recipe!

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Whoever said it’s the journey, not the destination has clearly never ridden 12 hours in 1 car with 3 kids, 2 adults, 5 suitcases, and a cockapoo before. Ever.

(Why yes, those would definitely be OVERALL SHORTS.)

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Twice a year growing up, my brothers, Mom, Dad, dog, and I would pile into our maroon Aerostar van and drive 12 hours east to Ohio. Both my parents are from the buckeye state, and 90% of our relatives live there, so every summer and winter we’d roll up for a week-long visit. It was the BEST!

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The drive was…not. You see, far from the the perfect family road trips you see in the movies and on tv, where everyone’s singing B-I-N-G-O in perfect harmony, was my family’s version of a road trip.

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Mom, he won’t stop touching me!

NOBODY is allowed to talk for the next 25 minutes!

Stop kicking your brothers seat.

Are we there yet?

The dog just barfed everywhere.

So help me, I will pull this car off the side of the road and make you WALK the rest of the way there!

For the love of… PUT THE BEEF JERKY AWAY!

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I can laugh hysterically at the memories now, but clearly we must have loved our Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins to bits because those road trips were seriously agony for everyone involved. I’d like to say they got better as we got older, but no, me thinks they might have gotten worse.

After all, the older you get the easier it is to go in the gas station during refueling breaks and buy your own beef jerky. The car smelled for weeks afterwards.

Anyways, it’s been 10+ years since the entire family made the trip, but tomorrow Ben, my parents and I are reviving the tradition by heading out together for a week of visiting relatives, hitting up old family vacation spots, and even attending a Dean Martin festival, in the great state of Ohio.

The ride will no doubt be interesting, to say the least, but hopefully filled with less seat kicking! ;)

In true Kristin fashion, I waited until the last minute to get everything wrapped up here at home before we head out, so I’ve been scrambling all day trying to pack, clean the house, and get all my work done. I did make time though, to whip up this crazy delish dinner of Farfelle with Kale & Bacon.

Cooked farfelle and fresh kale join forces with sizzling bacon and chewy sun dried tomatoes in this incredibly fast and flavorful dish. A hint of heat from red chili pepper flakes and fresh garlic make each bite POP!

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The best part? I had nearly all the ingredients I needed already on hand!

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Start the Farfelle with Kale & Bacon with 5 cups torn kale. I got mine from the kale plant in my garden which I needed to harvest before leaving for Ohio. Check this out – May 7, 2012:

And today! (Nevermind the dead grass, which is actually not as dead as it looks. 70% of the state of Iowa is in or near drought conditions!)

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I am SHOCKED at how fast everything is growing, and make everyone who comes over to the house go around back to check it out. I am such a proud garden mama. :)

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The sweet 100’s cherry tomato plant is growing the biggest, and fastest. The little tomatoes growing all over the plant should be ready to pluck in a week or so!

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My peas are spiraling and blooming.

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And you can expect a cucumber-themed week any day now here on IGE, with the amount of buds I’ve got on my two cuke plants!

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What I’m most impressed with, though, is my kale plant. I harvested nearly the entire thing just 2 weeks ago for my Inner Goddess Detox Salad, and it’s sprung back twofold in the meantime!

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I pulled off the bottom, outer leaves of the kale plant for the recipe, leaving the top to continue sprouting, then washed and dried ‘em.

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When the kale was dry I tore the leaves off the stems, then into bite-sized pieces.

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To continue the dish, cook 8oz farfelle pasta in a big pot of salted, boiling water. I always heavily salt my pasta cooking water. It makes such a huge difference in the flavor of the pasta!

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When the pasta has about 2 minutes left until it’s reached al dente, drop the kale in and let it cook with the pasta. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water (bolded because I forget this step EVERY TIME) then drain the pasta and kale, and return it to the pot.

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Meanwhile, get some bacon sizzlin’ in a large skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop.

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Cook the bacon until it’s very crisp, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool slightly.

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Next, remove all but 1 Tablespoon bacon drippings from the skillet. I usually just spoon it out into a mason jar.

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Turn the heat down to medium, then add 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil to the skillet. I adore sun dried tomatoes. They’re sweet and chewy – the best!

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Add 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes, and 5 cloves minced garlic to the skillet, then saute the mixture for about 1 minute, letting the garlic get nice and toasted in the bacon drippings.

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This. Smells. AWESOME, by the way.

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Add the cooked farfelle and kale into the skillet, then drizzle in the reserved pasta cooking water until you feel the pasta won’t be dry.

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Naturally I forgot to save some water, but luckily nearly 1/3 cup had collected in the bottom of the pot I had set the pasta and kale colander on top of to use. Phew!

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Crumble in the cooked bacon slices, then toss to combine. Taste and add salt if necessary.

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Top with a bit of shaved Romano cheese, then you are set, my friends. 20 minutes, tops, to dinner!

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Farfelle with Kale & Bacon

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:
8oz farfelle
5 cups bite-sized pieces of torn kale
5 bacon slices
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (or more or less)
5 garlic cloves, minced
salt
Romano cheese, optional

Directions:

  1. Cook farfelle in a large pot of salted, boiling water until almost al dente. Add kale to the boiling water then cook for 2 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water then drain the pasta and kale, and return to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very crisp. Place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then remove all but 1 Tablespoon bacon drippings from the skillet.
  3. Turn heat down to medium then add sun dried tomatoes, red chili pepper flakes, and garlic. Stir constantly for 1 minute, or until garlic is golden brown. Add drained pasta and kale to the skillet, then pour in enough pasta cooking water to ensure pasta will not be dry. Crumble cooked bacon into the skillet, then toss to combine.  Taste and add more salt if needed. Top with grated Romano cheese, if desired.

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I mean, how can you go wrong when there’s bacon involved? Add hearty, home-grown kale, and chewy, sweet sun dried tomatoes, and you will be amazed at how delicious this recipe is.

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I mean, really, really delicious. It’s always the simple things, no?

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With that, I am off to finish packing and tidying up the house. You know how I like to come home to a clean abode! I’ll be popping in throughout the week, and have a mind-blowing recipe and giveaway planned for you for tomorrow. Do not miss that, for sure!

Toodles, for now! :)

~~~~~

Did you and your family take road trips when you were growing up? Peace & harmony, or kicking & screaming?

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