Delicious! Easy to make. I chopped the kale before blanching, then used that water to cook the pasta. I used cavatappi since I had that on hand. While pasta was cooking, made the roux in my Le Creuset wide Dutch oven, dumped cooked pasta and kale in that, tossed the olive oil panko on top 1 minute under the broiler, done. Next time I'll add garlic. Adding a pre-cooked protein would make this a one pot meal. Definitely going in rotation.
I found this exact recipe years ago (2017) in the Southern Living magazine & have been using it ever since. I buy fresh whole Kale (full leaves) and then wash & chop it myself (about 1/3 the cost of buying pre-washed/pre-cut Kale in a bag) ; for hot sauce instead of tabasco, I use Frank's Red Hot (original) hot sauce... you can get it at WalMart. ...remember the ad: "I put that $^*@#^ on everything..." hahaha. When ready to pour the mixture into a "greased baking dish" I use my 10" cast iron skillet so it can safely be put under the broiler to brown the Panko.
The kids loved it and so quick to make! Will be making this one again
Easy to make.
Very creamy and delicious, such a comforting dish!
Fabulous! I will make it again.
I searched for a recipe to simulate an organic frozen dinner that my son loves. None of the similar recipes had many reviews, so I went with Southern Living because I trust them. I'm glad I did. My son tried this and said, "It's even better than my favorite!" I agree and am having trouble not going back for more and more.
I tried not to make substitutions because I like to give the original recipe a chance first, but I made some minor ones: Reduced the salt. Even though I really like salty foods, my son doesn't, so I reduced the 1/4 cup of salt to 3 tablespoons for boiling the kale, and reduced the final 1.5 teaspoons of salt to 1/2 teaspoon. Even at this reduced amount, it was salty enough, even for this little salt lover.
I got distracted by grating cheese and my butter/onions started to brown too much. I was going to throw out the butter and start over, but it had the most wonderful sweet caramel aroma, so I kept going with it. I used half soy milk and half whipping cream because it was all I had on hand. I didn't have hot sauce, so I added a light sprinkle of crushed red pepper on top, it was good, but I think the hot sauce would have been fabulous, too.
I was unsure how dry the kale needed to be or how to dry it. I drained it in a colander then spread it out on paper towels and changed the towels once. I did not squeeze any water out. It blended into the roux just fine. My roux was so thick (probably from cooking it a bit too long) that I could have left more moisture in the kale. I only put in 3/4 of the cooked kale because it already looked so full of kale. In hindsight, the kale was so mild and pleasant in the dish that I wish I had put it all in.
The recipe was more time consuming than I had hoped. It took me 1.5 hours start to finish, but I think next time I could do it in the time stated in the recipe if I am more focused with the prep—It's really just a basic baked mac & cheese roux recipe with the added benefit of very mild kale.
By the time I got to the panko crumbs, I was tired and relieved that it only entailed mixing the crumbs with olive oil and sprinkling on top—super easy! The crumbs were wonderfully crunchy when they came out of my toaster oven broiler.
I made this for Sunday dinner. It needed a meat so I added some cooked chopped chicken breast. I used broccoli greens instead of kale and left off the bread crumbs. It’s very tasty but it’s not as quick as the recipe says and it’s not an easy dish to make.