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Whole-Wheat Pasta with Kale and Fontina

A small amount of bacon infuses this simple dish with a rich smokiness. We used whole-wheat spaghetti to balance the distinct tastes of the kale and the fontina.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6
Whole-Wheat Pasta with Kale and Fontina

Source: Everyday Food, October 2003


  • 4 slices bacon (2 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch kale (1 pound), thick stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium canned chicken broth
  • 1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fontina cheese


  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons rendered fat.

  2. Cook garlic in same skillet over medium heat until golden, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Add half the kale; cook, tossing until just wilted, 2 minutes. Add remaining kale, and season with salt and pepper; cook, tossing, until all kale has wilted, 2 minutes. Add broth; cover. Simmer until kale is tender, 10 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot. Add kale and fontina; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add reserved cooking water as desired. Divide pasta among plates; top with reserved bacon.

Cook's Note

Fontina cheese is a mild, nutty-tasting cheese that melts nicely into warm pasta, adding both texture and flavor to this dish.


Reviews (5)

  • foodie72 25 Oct, 2013

    This was very bland and used far too much was swimming in it...suggest cutting broth by at least half. Also add a 1/2 tsp of crushed red chilies.

  • PickledCatherine 15 Oct, 2013

    This is a hearty recipe that requires few ingredients and as a result allows for flexibility: added some portobello mushrooms to the kale and a few tablespoons of heavy cream near the end since both were in my fridge (and not to mention, desperately needed to be used). Though next time I think I will throw in a tad more garlic.

  • Italy358 14 Apr, 2009

    I prefer spinach, that is real italian instead kale.

  • lilydeupree 28 May, 2008

    One of my favorites - so easy, quick and yummy! Heats up well for lunch the next day too.

  • gracieb83 20 May, 2008

    This is very good. I prefer the gemelli with sausage, chard and pinenuts, but I'd be quite content alternating these 2 recipes every week as both are delish and easy

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