Washington - This is a fun way to feed, say, a distracted band of students. A young cook could assemble the ingredients before his or her parents came home from work. You get the picture: so easy it's almost autopilot.
Be sure to place this on a large burner with no hot spots, and your meal will be done on time. For extra flavour, stir in a generous spoonful of homemade or store-bought pesto.
6 to 8 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion
4 to 6 cloves garlic
1 bunch kale
2 sprigs basil
3 1/2 cups small tomatoes
28 ounces (about 800g) canned, no-salt-added tomatoes with their juices
1 pound (about 500g) whole-grain or whole-wheat fusilli or other shaped pasta
4 cups water, or more as needed
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven (cast iron pot) or heavy-bottomed pot with a lid over high heat.
Meanwhile, cut the onion into small dice. Mince the garlic (use more or less to taste). Add the garlic to the oil and stir to coat; it will sizzle. Then stir in the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until it is translucent.
While the onion and garlic are cooking, cut the kale leaves away from the stems; coarsely chop the leaves. Discard the stems. Tear the basil leaves.
Cut the fresh tomatoes into halves or quarters and add to the pot along with the canned tomatoes and their juices, the kale, basil, pasta, salt and 4 cups of water. Cover partially and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and stir to incorporate. Cook for 9 to 11 minutes, until the pasta is al dente, depending on the pasta shape and pasta package directions. Add water if the pasta looks dry.
Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Remove from the heat and ladle into individual wide, shallow bowls. Pass more Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table. Serve warm.