Do I have such a delicious and easy weeknight dinner recipe for you! Inspired from one of my favorite pasta recipes, pasta alla puttanesca, I traded in the briny kalamata olives and tomatoes with fresh sauteed kale and buttery castelveltrano olives, creating a lighter and green puttanesca recipe. And the best part is the Parmesan panko topping, just for added crunch.
Pasta with Capers
One of my absolute favorite pasta recipes is a classic puttanesca, which is pasta with capers, olives and anchovies. The ingredients are briny and aromatic and history tells us that working women would make the decadent pasta to lure their male clients in.
What do Capers Taste Like?
Capers are briney and slightly salty and the small buds pack big flavor. Capers taste a little like a briney olive and offer great depth of flavor and saltiness to your dish. Whenever I have capers in a recipe, I’ll add less salt overall, to balance the dish out. I also like to use some of the brine that the capers come in to add flavor and salt to my dish.
If you haven’t had capers yet, I highly recommend grabbing a jar! I use capers in so many recipes, such as in chicken puttanesca, artichoke tapenade and in this unique chorizo bolognese with capers. You can find jars of capers in most, if not all grocery stores and they are usually with other canned or jarred items.
Other Ingredients in Green Puttanesca
- Castelveltrano Olives: These are the olives that I eat on the daily! If you don’t think you like olives, these are the ones I recommend to try. They are not nearly as briney as kalamatas and are buttery and mild. You can find them at most stores but here is an Amazon link to order online.
- Anchovies: Another classic in puttanesca. Again, if you are nervous about the “fishy” taste of anchovies, you can buy anchovy paste or just omit all together. When you saute the anchovy fillets in oil, the fishy flavor mellows out and instead you get a lovely salty umami layer that is amazing with garlic.
- Fresh Kale: Either lacinato kale or curly kale will work for this recipe. Pull the leaves off the stem and give them a rough chop. Just like spinach, kale will cook down to about half its size.
- Parmesan Panko Breadcrumbs: This was a fun addition and offers a really nice crunch at the end. Heat a skillet with olive oil and add panko and saute until panko turns a light golden color. Then remove and grate in Parmesan cheese and save for pasta or other dishes.
Kale Pasta with Capers and Olives
- 1 pound linguini or spaghetti
- Big pinch of salt for pasta water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for garnish
- 2-3 anchovy fillets
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 2 large bunch of kale stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine such as Pinot Grigio
- 8 ounces about 1 cup, pitted castelveltrano olives, roughly chopped
- 1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- Begin by bringing a pot of salted water to a boila nd cook pasta until just cooked through and save some starchy pasta water for the sauce.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and add anchovy fillets. Use a spatula to break up the anchovies so they melt into the oil.
- Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.
- Add capers and saute for another 30 seconds. I also like to add some of the brine, but that is optional.
- Stir in the chopped kale and cover with a lid to help wild the kale. Stir everything around and saute until kale is wilted and still a deep green color.
- Pour in wine and reduce for a minute, stirring everything together.
- Add the chopped olives, saving some for garnish and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
- Once the pasta is ready, add cooked pasta directly to the kale mixture, stirring everything together. If the sauce is too dry, add 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water and a good drizzle of olive oil.
- For the panko breadcrumbs, heat a small skillet over medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add panko and toss in the oil, continually until all the panko is a light golden color. This happens pretty quickly, so keep an eye on it. As soon as it turns golden, about 3 minutes, remove from stove and set aside to cool slightly. Stir in Parmesan cheese and toss together.