A white bowl of noodles and greens on a blue and white cloth, with a fork, two small white bowls of citrus zest and grated Parmesan cheese, and a whole lemon, on a dark brown wood surface.

Angel Hair Pasta with Braised Kale

  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Are you on the hunt for a healthy meal with lots of flavor? For a lightened up pasta dinner, this angel hair with braised kale is a tasty and easy option.



For the Pasta:

  • 1 lb kale (about 2 bunches)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 8 large cloves garlic (or to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb angel hair pasta

For the Lemon Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest + more for serving
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 5 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese + more for serving
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  1. Remove ribs and stems from the kale. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Rinse and drain; set aside in a bowl.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion. You should have about 1 1/2 cups in total.
  3. Peel and thinly slice the garlic.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large, heavy pot over medium heat.
  5. Add chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.
  6. Add sliced garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add kale and remaining tablespoon olive oil and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low.
  8. Continue cooking until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally and adding water by teaspoonfuls if dry, about 20 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a medium-sized pot of boiling salted water until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.
  10. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, cream, and reserved pasta water. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  11. Remove sauce from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.
  12. Add cooked pasta and lemon sauce to the kale mixture. Toss to combine.
  13. Serve garnished with additional lemon zest and Parmesan cheese as desired.


Adapted from Molly Wizenberg, Bon Appétit, October 2009.

  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Keywords: kale, angel hair, lemon, lightened-up