Pasta with Caramelized Turnips, Kale, and Black Pepper

Chef Kevin Cleary of L’Amante Ristorante in Burlington, VT uses orecchiette pasta in this dish. Any toothy shape would work well. This is a great vegetarian meal; it would also be delicious with spicy Italian sausage.


  • 1 lb orecchiette pasta (or other pasta of choice)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 Hakurai turnips halved, then quartered
  • 1 lb kale de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • black pepper freshly cracked
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese grated


Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan until hot but not smoking. Add the diced turnips, reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring often until the turnips are tender and golden, about 6 minutes.

Add the chopped kale. stirring often cook until kale is tender, another 6-8 minutes (if the pan seems dry, add another tablespoon or two of oil). Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Season with cracked pepper, to taste. Add butter and stir gently until melted.

Add the drained pasta to the pan. Add more reserved water, if needed. Stir in cheese, season with salt and more cracked pepper to taste. Divide pasta into warm bowls, and top with additional grated cheese, if desired.

Entree kale quick & easy turnip

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