Smoked Salmon Kale Carbonara Pasta

Oh. Holy. Moly.

In contrast with basically every intelligent person in the world, I am not over-the-moon for Italian food. I like chicken parmesan and lasagna well enough, but your garden variety Italian dishes like fettuccine Alfredo and spaghetti and meatballs don’t get me all worked up. For the longest time, I had always grouped things described as “carbonara” in that same vaguely-unexciting universe of garden variety Italian food. Now, I don’t know if this carbonara is just exponentially better than all other carbonaras, or if I had been misjudging carbonara for the past 28 years, but MAN! This stuff is LEGIT!

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that my husband cleaned his plate and went back for seconds but definitely appeared to be picking around the “green things,” as he put it. I thought the kale was awesome – full of flavor and an excellent complement to that lovely smoked salmon and carbonara sauce. But, you know. If you’re anti-“green things,” I don’t know if this will turn you around. Whatever. I could happily eat this every meal for a week. It’s about a million times better than my previous conception of salmon carbonara. Yikes.


13.25 oz box whole wheat linguine
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, minced
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
1 large bunch kale, thick stems removed and torn into 2-inch pieces
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
8 oz smoked salmon, torn into small pieces
juice of 1/2 lemon

  1. Bring saucepan full of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and reserve the cooking water.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until it just starts to brown around the edges, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper and cook about 30 seconds. Add kale; cover pan and cook until tender, 3-5 minutes, stirring about once a minute.
  3. Beat together eggs, cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of black pepper.
  4. Transfer cooked pasta to kale mixture and stir in salmon. Over low heat, toss pasta and salmon with some of the pasta water (about 1/3 cup). Once warmed through, add egg mixture and stir vigorously to combine. Squeeze lemon juice over the pasta and toss. Serve immediately, topping with additional parmesan.

If I hadn’t already made it clear, I thought this was outstanding. I actually used a lot less pasta (maybe 1/3 a box), which upped the salmon/kale/sauce-to-pasta ratio quite a bit. I can’t wait to make this again – and to maybe try out other carbonaras in the meantime!

One thought on “Smoked Salmon Kale Carbonara Pasta

  1. Pingback: Happy New Year: The 12 Best Dishes of 2012! | windykitchen

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