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Spicy Pomodoro Sauce with Kale & Penne Pasta

A flavorful and healthy meatless Monday meal that will leave you full and satisfied. With just a few healthy ingredients and about 45 minutes, you can enjoy this spicy and delicious dish, and feel good about eating it too!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgini olive oil
  • 4 stems fresh Italian flat leaf parsley (optional)
  • 4 stems fresh Basil, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled Plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 (4-6 ounce) bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 8 ounces Penne pasta, cooked al dente per package instructions
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese


  • In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the parsley, basil, and thyme.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until the herbs are crisp.  Remove and discard the herbs using a slotted spoon.
  • Add the shallots to the olive oil and sauté for a few minutes until tender.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant but not browned.  Add the crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.  Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook until the tomatoes break down and the sauce thickens, about 25 minutes.
  • While the sauce is cooking, prepare the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside until needed.
  • Add the kale to the Pomodoro sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes.  Add the drained pasta and cook until heated through.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spoon into bowls and garnish with fresh torn basil leaves and grated Parmesan.  


Substitute Swiss chard or fresh spinach leaves for the kale if desired.  If using spinach it will only need to cook for a minute or two.  For this recipe I used Tuscan kale.
When crushing the whole canned tomatoes by hand, place them in a deep bowl and carefully squeeze the submerged tomatoes with clean hands.  Take care not to squirt yourself with the juice.  Also don't wear a white shirt while crushing the tomatoes, just saying.
Use your favorite pasta cooked al dente.  For this recipe we used Penne Chickapea Pasta made with chickpeas and lentils.