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Shells and Cheese

Yield Makes 4 servings


  • 12 ounces kale
  • 12 ounces dried shell-shaped pasta (about 1 in. long)
  • 6 slices (about 4 in. long and 1/4 in. thick) day-old Italian-style bread
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled, plus 1 tablespoon pressed or minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • About 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

Nutrition Information

  • calories 537
  • caloriesfromfat 18 %
  • protein 26 g
  • fat 11 g
  • satfat 5.5 g
  • carbohydrate 82 g
  • fiber 3.7 g
  • sodium 569 mg
  • cholesterol 31 mg

How to Make It

  1. In a 6- to 8-quart pan over high heat, bring 4 to 6 quarts water to a boil. Rinse kale; cut out and discard stems and tough centers of leaves. Add kale to boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green and tender to bite, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer kale to a colander to drain. Add pasta to water and cook, stirring occasionally, until barely tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid; return pasta to pan.

  2. Meanwhile, arrange bread slices in a single layer on a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Bake in a 350° regular or convection oven, turning once, until crisp and dry, about 15 minutes total. Rub one side of each bread slice with garlic clove; discard any remaining clove. Let bread cool, then seal in a heavy plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or whirl in a food processor into coarse crumbs.

  3. Coarsely chop kale. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat, stir 1 tablespoon pressed or minced garlic and chili flakes in oil just until garlic is fragrant (but not brown), 1 to 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and kale and stir until liquid is evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Stir kale mixture, ricotta cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and reserved 1 cup pasta-cooking liquid into pasta. Divide equally among four bowls and sprinkle with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.