Baked Whole Wheat Rotini with Lamb, Kale and Fromage Blanc by Brigid Callinan

Baked Whole Wheat Rotini with Lamb, Kale and Fromage Blanc by Brigid Callinan
Recipe courtesy of Chef Brigid Callinan.
Serves 6 to 8

This simple, hearty pasta will warm you up on a wintry night. Toss some crisp greens with a simple vinaigrette and you’ve got a healthful, complete meal. And the leftovers are even better the next day.
Place the olive oil, onions and red pepper flakes in a large, deep skillet and cook on medium high heat until the onions become soft and start to turn golden. Reduce the heat if necessary to keep the onions from browning. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, then add the lamb and cook, breaking up large pieces with a spoon, until it is no longer pink. Add the kale with any water that remains on it from washing and stir to incorporate it into the meat mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced almost all the way. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cook at a low simmer until the sauce has thickened a bit and the kale is tender.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until just under al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large bowl. Add the fromage blanc and the pecorino and stir until combined. When the kale is tender, taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Stir about a cup of the hot sauce into the pasta mixture. Repeat with two more cups of the sauce, stirring after each addition (this heats the cheese up gradually so it doesn’t turn grainy). Add the remaining sauce and stir well to combine everything. Transfer the pasta to a deep ceramic baking dish and cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake the pasta for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.