Farfalle with Kale and Bacon


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


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.)


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!


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.


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!


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.

Anyway, 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 Farfalle with Kale & Bacon.

Cooked farfalle 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!


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


Start the Farfalle 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!)


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. :)


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!


My peas are spiraling and blooming.


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!


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!


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.


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


To continue the dish, cook 8oz farfalle 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!


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.

DSC_0684 DSC_0686

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


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


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


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!


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.


This. Smells. AWESOME, by the way.


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


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!


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


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


Farfalle with Kale and Bacon

Serves 4


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


  • 8oz farfalle
  • 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


  1. Cook farfalle 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.


Slightly adapted from Cooking Light

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.


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.


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


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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  1. Raechelle 06.12.2012

    My family took a road trip every summer to Florida growing up. TWO DAYS IN THE CAR! Ack. I actually live in Ohio so have fun while you’re here!

  2. Angela 06.12.2012

    Eating food you’ve grown yourself is so rewarding! I just ate my first ripe strawberry from my garden and I was showing my husband how great it looked (like he cared) before I ate it! Your garden looks awesome!

    My Family went on lots of road trips we would visit Wallowa Lake, Oregon every year with a bunch of my family members and both my sister and I would get car sick most times. So I agree the road tripping is not so fun but it’s always worth it when you arrive!

  3. Bethany Snyder 06.12.2012

    I live in Ohio too!! I love that you referred to it as “Buckeye Country” :)

    Enjoy your time and I hope the trip out here is much better than you remember.

  4. You make me want to start a garden!

  5. Rachel 06.12.2012

    So jealous! I’m from Ohio & haven’t been back in almost 3 years now! :( If you’re going to a Dean Martin festival, you must be going to Steubenville, eh? Have fun!

  6. Grace 06.12.2012

    My sister was easy peasy on road trips, but my little brother was out of control! I think we all thought about strangling him at one time or another in that van. Finally, my dad bought a 12″ TV to put in the back seat, as that was the only way to get him to shut up and stop bugging us. Pretty genius!

    BTW, your oldest brother looks like a giant next to you in the picture in front of the house. How much older is he? Must have just had a huge growth spurt!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 06.13.2012

      Only 2.5 years older, but he’s abnormally tall (6’4) and I’m abnormally short (5’2)!

  7. JennP 06.12.2012

    We drove from Florida to Ontario every summer (24 hours)! I never remember the trips being too brutal, but I’m sure my parents would tell a different tale. We did the trip with our Cockapoo too!

  8. Lauren 06.12.2012

    When you put the bacon drippings in a mason jar are you saving it for later use or throwing it away? I didn’t know if you saved it, how long it was good for

  9. Tracy 06.12.2012

    Seriously, every time I read Kale & Bacon in my head it was Kevin Bacon. I may need help :)

  10. Angela 06.12.2012

    I had those exact overall shorts!!

  11. Rhona 06.12.2012

    I laughed my ass off reading your trip tale. We didn’t go on cross country trips here in good ole Ontario (Canada) but we did take loads of Sunday trips to dairy queen and then Toronto for the evening and drive around. We had the same experiences. It is so familiar I had to laugh. In fact, I read that part 2 times and I think I am going to read it again. Such great memories.

  12. Ellen Ludwig 06.12.2012

    Hey Kristen! If you are near fort wayne, you should stop on the way home! We’d love to see you guys! We are just 45 mins south of 80/90 and 69. Have fun and enjoy the road trip!! :)

  13. Megan M. 06.12.2012

    I grew up in Perry, so not far from Des Moines, and many summers our “vacation” would be a day trip to Adventureland. I can remember my parents bribing us with the promise of candy at the park if we could be quiet starting at the softball fields on the north side of Des Moines until we got to Adventureland. I guess we were pretty noisy if my parents couldn’t handle a 60-minute drive to Altoona :)

  14. jad18 06.12.2012

    Yes, the most memorable was the trip to Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone and the Badlands. Highlights included a near accident b/c my dad had to turn around to tell us to stop fighting, my sister convincing me a mountain lion was going to steal me from the car at a wildlife park and sleeping in our mini-van while camping b/c of severe weather.

  15. Love those flashback photos! I love looking through old family memories, especially vacation ones!

  16. Dee 06.12.2012

    OMG the dialogue along the way made me giggle and reminds me of how traveling when I was young. LOL

    I would probably do spinach instead of kale, only because I’m not that much of a fan of kale but other than that this meal looks outrageously delicious.

  17. Marie B. 06.12.2012

    Long before motherhood, I was a child and took family road trips to NC, Ohio & Georgia! I slept on the floor board and got way hot, sang ‘Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley’ which I also sang to my kiddos! My mother sang ‘The East Bound Train’ or something like that and we tinkled on the side of the road cause gas stations were few & far between! My cousin & I made paper hats on the way to NC and then used them when we got sick in the mountains!

    Oh, my! You brought back the memories and those are just from my childhood , not even all the best ones from my own children’s escapades with seat kicking and touching each sibling just because!!

    Can’t believe you got everything ready and still had time to cook up a little something and your garden looks great! I feel proud of you, young lady, just as if you were one of mine! I hope you guys have a great vacation and treasure the making of special family memories! God bless!

  18. Chris Hoebelheinrich 06.12.2012

    Awful trip with 4 kids & a dog (and 2 parents) in an AMC Pacer all the way from Ankeny to Austin, TX. Those cars were from the 70’s and looked like a bubble. If you drew the short straw, you had to scrunch into the hatch back seat and roast! Apparently we weren’t mindful of seat belts back then–lol! The hatch was almost all glass so we just cooked back there in the summer time! At least my siblings couldn’t “touch” me back there ;-)

  19. Jeri 06.12.2012

    Don’t worry, I forget the pasta water, too.

  20. Kristin 06.12.2012

    I remember riding in my Grandparents huge Lincoln Towncar for 12 hours to Dallas, TX. I was young enough that I could stretch out and sleep. Best road trip as a kid.
    My parent rarely took my brother and I anywhere as we did not get along and I get motion-sick. We’d fight the entire way. So our trips were either to Des Moines at the end of summer for Adventureland, swimming in the pool, and a stop at the mall for school clothes or we went to Omaha. Last family road trip was when my brother and I were adults. Thankfully by this time the parents had a van instead of a car and we both had ipods. We left early enough in the morning we just the slept for the 4 hour drive.

  21. Mello 06.12.2012

    I make almost the same..instead of Romano I add goat cheese, and capers (because I love them just as much as the sun dried tomatoes), and then I mix in some toasted sesame seed oil instead of the reserved water….

  22. I have some prosciutto I need to use up this week, may just sub it for the bacon!

  23. you were a cute lil kid! love the van.

  24. jen 06.12.2012

    every summer my family would drive in our red aerostar van from south texas to eastern pennsylvania-a 30 hr drive that we usually did in 2 days. i actually didn’t mind the drive much as kid and i LOVED spending the time with my cousins and grandparents when we got there. last summer, i made the drive with my mom, brother and my then 18mth old daughter for the first time in 10 years. i appreciated the drive even more as an adult and seeing scenery that i hadn’t seen in so long. have fun!!

  25. Oh car trips with the fam…some good memories and some painful ones. Hope you two have a blast and the 12 hrs fly by. That dinner looks delish!

  26. Mindy 06.13.2012

    I’m a Buckeye! I am “stuck” here in Alabama with my one true love. He chose this lovely state for Air Force Retirement. I can honestly say there was a real line down the back rest and seat of our Ford Fairlane when ever we travelled. I cannot imagine taking a trip that long with not one but two brothers! I love your little garden! You did plant herbs right? If not…. pots are the answer!

  27. mandi white 06.13.2012

    You’re so inspiring and hungry-making! Your garden is beautiful and your creations are always inspiring.

  28. I’ve been looking for something fun to do with all my kale! Will be trying tonight!

  29. Lori H 06.13.2012

    Growing up, almost all of our vacations involved long car trips. My sister and I are almost 6 years apart so we usually got along OK, but after a while in the car, we would have some territory issues. Before leaving home, Mom divided the back (bench) seat with a strip of masking tape! What she wouldn’t have given for the “captain’s chairs” that are available today. Love your photos!

  30. Amy 06.13.2012

    It is pre-coffee time here this morning, and this post showed up in my RSS feed. I read the title as “Fafalle with Kevin Bacon” so I’m super intrigued! I start reading, and begin wondering what crazy road trip you took with Kevin Bacon as a child. Then I hit the recipe, and realized, no Kevin Bacon :( But road trips with your family are cool, too! My parents, sister, and I used to drive to Florida (from Ohio) every summer. 3 days (yes, we dragged it out) there and back. We’d stay down there for a few weeks, but still… my sister and I still laugh about her always wanting to take a nap on me. It was agony for us, too, but the memories sure are wonderful!

  31. Kristina 06.13.2012

    My husband and I are both from Wisconsin. At least once a year we pack our 4 children into the van and drive the 8 hours to visit family. Thank goodness for technology (we have tv/dvd in the van) but even with that we end up hollering the very things you posted!

  32. Teresa K. 06.13.2012

    You, madame, have the greenest thumb! – What a beautiful garden!!!!!!!!

  33. sarah 06.13.2012

    For the past years , we have been taking our 3 kids to visit the country…they hate the road trips, but we hope they will love the memories later! I live in Ohio too…hope you’ll have fun :)

  34. Jen 06.13.2012

    Quick glance at your comments- lots of us from Ohio including me! I hope you enjoy your stay here, and that the weather isn’t too humid/hot/gross. I know in Dayton it’s going to be a HOT HOT HOT couple of days!

    I’ve never tried kale, but this recipe looks fantastic! Gonna have to pin it to my Yum board on Pinterest.

    Good luck during your travels!

    • Mandy 06.13.2012

      Another shout out from Dayton! :)

  35. danielle 06.13.2012

    Yay! I’m from Ohio, still live here, and love it. We used to road trip it everywhere. I didn’t fly until the year I got married when I was 26. We went to Florida a bunch of times (21 hrs…yay!) Your road trip tale was cute and funny.

  36. Emily 06.13.2012

    You just made me laugh out loud – literally. We had an Aerostar, too. Ours was a more neutral color – but oh my. And there are 4 of us – so road trips, especially once I remember taking to Disney – were a little ridiculous.

  37. Susie 06.13.2012

    Yes, growing older did not help make the behavior better in my family. I was a high school junior, my brother in 8th grade when we went to visit our newly married sister in Tennessee. The only way for peace was to put one of us in front with my dad and the other in back with my mom!

    Our grandsons got the be quiet or ‘walk home from here’ threat when they neared their home in Oklahoma, and when the parents looked in the back seat, they were ‘sassing’ each other in sign language. ;-)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 06.13.2012

      BAHAHAHA, just laughed out loud thinking about kids sassing each other in sign language. Classic!

  38. Sarah 06.13.2012

    My parents loved camping road trips, so my brothers and I spent LOTS of time together in the back seat. I laughed at your redorick about what goes on in the back seat. That totally happened in our car. Then, my parents decided to pay us a quarter per half hour we were quiet. The money we earned we could use on souvenirs. We called it “hush” money. The crazy thing is one trip I made $38.50… I was a motivated kid ;)

  39. Ashley 06.13.2012

    Does anyone have any suggestions for a substitute for the sun-dried tomatoes? I just can’t get past the darn texture.

  40. Kristin from MN 06.13.2012

    My family took road trips to the Black Hills. It’s about a 7 hour drive IF we went non-stop, which of course was NOT the case for a extended cap Chevy truck loaded with two adults and four kids. Under the topper in the back was the tent and all the camping supplies. I am assuming there was lots of “she’s looking at me”, “no fair, I want the front seat”, “I have to pee”, etc… The good ole days! ;D

  41. Meig 06.13.2012

    I’m in Northeastern Ohio (and incidentally, not an OSU fan but AM a Browns/Indians/Cavs fan not a Steelers fan…) and I can say that we’re all happy you visit. Especially because many of your recipes appear in my kitchen (just Friday I made the caprese sausage lasagna) and I am so glad I found your blog. Thanks for sharing yums and not-so-bad-for-you recipes. Be safe on your trip!

  42. Jenny B. 06.13.2012

    Kristin! I heart your blog so very much and follow many receipies from it. I was super excited to hear that you are making a trip to OH-IO! If you stop close to Cleveland (Chagrin Falls) or Columbus (multiple locations) you must go to Jeni’s Ice Cream. She just won a James Beard Award and I feel like it is something that you would enjoy! Have safe travels and Go Bucks!

  43. #1: We did a yearly trip from NJ to Florida in a green Aerostar van when I was little
    #2: We succeeded in being SO irritating that my father, clearly ahead of his time, installed a teeny TV with a VCR build in above the center console to keep us occupied and quiet.
    #3: I love Dean Martin. And bacon.

  44. Lauren T 06.13.2012

    My family used to drive all the way to Florida without stopping over night from Illinois for spring break, and while we started out happy, the drive ended with all of being crabby! It was a 20ish hr drive though, so not surprising :) I do have fond memories of the drives though!

  45. Lori Lynn 06.13.2012

    My older brother and I used to play a game where we used to have to find things on a list like a red mailbox or a yellow car. But the majority of the time we’d get into a fight over something, so we’d rarely finish the game! (We also used to play the alphabet game finding something that started with the alphabet letters, and I don’t think we ever got through entire alphabet either.) LOL I always wished for a suburban so I could have a seat to myself, rather than having to share a backseat!

  46. That dinner looks awesome! I’ve been looking for a new kale dish.

  47. Wow, your garden is amazing!!

    I grew up in Hawaii, so our “road trip” was really just a drive to the north shore, to one of my favorite hotels, Turtle Bay. It took probably 45 minutes to get there, but we used to pack extra books/games/blankets for the ride, haha! Nothing like your 12 hour trip!!

  48. We used to travel 8 hours to Chicago to visit family every summer. My dad would come home from work and sleep for a few hours and then once my sister and I were sound asleep, my parents loaded us into the van, and we traveled through the night, arriving in the morning, so we slept almost the whole way. I’m pretty sure they did it for their own sanity ;-)

    Also, love your garden! Mine has exploded as well, I can’t believe it. I’m going to have zucchini and cucumbers coming out of my ears! It’s a good problem to have :)

  49. Jen 06.14.2012

    Kristen – I am SO impressed by your Kale! We planted ours about a month ago and it is puny! Do you know what kind you have? I live north of Ames so I’m thinking we’d have very similar growing conditions, and your kale is clearly responding well to this climate…I’d like to try it out next year. If you could give me info on it that would be great!!! :)

  50. Diane 06.14.2012

    I received some wonderful kale and garlic in my CSA box, so I had yo make this! It really is delicious.

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