Go Back
+ servings

Rigatoni with Easy Kale Sauce

Inspired by this cookbook.

Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Brandon Matzek


  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound kale, ribs removed
  • 3/4 pound rigatoni (or any other pasta)
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, add garlic, olive oil and red pepper flakes to a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the garlic starts to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the garlic takes on a light golden color (about 5 minutes). Transfer the garlic and oil to a blender and set aside.
  3. Add the kale to the boiling water, and cook just until tender (about 5 minutes). Using tongs, transfer the kale to the blender. It’s fine if it’s still wet! Add the rigatoni to the boiling water, and cook until al dente according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Return pasta back to the pot.
  4. Add a splash of pasta water to the blender along with the lemon zest and juice, then blitz everything until smooth. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Flavors should be bold! Pour the kale sauce into the pot with the rigatoni, add Parmesan cheese and toss to combine. If needed, add a bit more pasta water until a creamy sauce forms.
  5. To serve, divide pasta between 4 bowls and top with additional Parmesan cheese and black pepper.