lazy roasted tomato and kale pasta + "parmesan"

This is only my second recipe for pasta in almost one year and I live in Italy! Pasta is cheaper than potatoes! It cooks quicker! It doens’t go bad! It doesn’t need any chopping nor peeling! I don’t know why I eat it so rarely, especially given that it can be made with a variety of flours. I only seem to remember about it in makeshift conditions or when I am really,really short on time. Such was the case with this dish. I recently made Anna Jones’ roasted tomato and kale salad with an Asian twist (which I might post sometime soon because I loved!! it) and really got hooked to the method because the cleanup is limited to washing the cutting board and knife, then tossing the parchment to trash. Tomatoes and kale are basic Italian ingredients so I could see them going just as well with garlic and parmesan as with soy sauce and coconut. (Let’s ignore the fact that none of my Italian friends seem to know what kale/cavolo nero is?). And even though February is not the peak of tomato season, roasting the red jewels always brings out its flavor. So this recipe is a great way to make use of watery tomatoes if you’ve been tricked by your supermarket’s deals into buying them because your mind was all about exams/work/fantasy travels. 

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Kale + „Parmesan”

(serves 2)


200g pasta (I used whole-wheat linguine, but use your favorite)

300g cherry tomatoes (or 3 tomatoes)
1 tbsp olive oil
zest of 1/2 lemon (or juice of 1)
salt and pepper, generously

1/2 bunch kale, about 1 packed cup (I used cavolo nero/lacinato)
1 tbsp oil
1 large clove garlic

for the „parmesan:
(adapted from here)

2 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 220*. Line a baking tray with parchment.

Quarter the tomatoes, if using cherry-sized, or cut into 1.5 cm cube, if using medium-sized ones. Transfer to the tray, add lemon and olive oil (1 tablespoon), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and use your hands to combine everything. Pop into the oven, set your timer for 15 minutes. Place a pot of salted water on the stove and bring to the boil.

Now, make the parmesan. Combine all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle and turn into tiny crumbs - not powder! Taste and add more salt if needed, or more yeast if you want it „cheesier”, then set aside.

Once the timer goes off, add pasta to the boiling water and set the timer again for 10 minutes (or the time you usually take to cook your pasta). 

Prepare your kale: chop or tear it into 3cm pieces (I like to use large scissors for this). Take out the tray with tomatoes and place it on a stable, heat surface (like your stove). Let it stand for 2-3 minutes. In this time, mince the garlic. Then, add it to the tomatoes along with the chopped kale and the rest of the olive oil (1 tablespoon), again, use your hands to combine, making sure to cover the bits of kale with tomato juices and oil well - otherwise it will turn into chips. Place the tray back in the oven. 

Once the timer goes off again, drain your pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Take out the vegetables out of the oven, add pasta and toss to combine. If the whole lot looks dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time and toss again. 

Divide between two plates and sprinkle with the „cheese”. Enjoy! I bet it would be great with a glass of white wine but didn’t yet have a chance to try.