Spaghetti With Shrimp, Kale and Tomatoes

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Black kale is a particular favorite of mine for this recipe. Blanch them in the pasta’s cooking water, chop, and add to the tomato sauce at the end of the cooking to merely heat through and soften slightly. Sear the shrimp & making the tomato sauce in the same pan to maximize flavor. The shrimp can be tossed through the tomato sauce, or if there are vegetarians at the table, simply top each serving as desired at the end.


  • 1 bunch black kale (medium-size). Make sure to stem and wash well in 2 changes water
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 12 medium shrimp (peel & devein)
  • Freshly ground pepper according to preference
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (to preference)
  • 1-14 1/2-ounce can chopped tomatoes in juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon oregano or thyme (to preference)
  • ¾ pound spaghetti
  • Crumbled feta or freshly grated Parmesan for serving (optional)

Nutritional Information

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings):
427 calories; 8 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 71 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 5 grams sugars; 16 grams protein; 22 milligrams cholesterol; 506 milligrams sodium

The information shown is estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. This should not be used in place of a professional nutritionist’s advice.


  1. Fill a large pot with water, bring to the boil, add salt according to preference, and then drop in the kale. Boil for 2-3 minutes until tender, before removing with a strainer or slotted spoon. Transfer to a bowl of cold water. Do not drain the pot of water, as this will be used for your pasta. Drain the kale, and then squeeze out any excess water a handful at a time. Chop medium-fine, and set aside for later.
  2. This step can be done whilst waiting for the water in the previous step to come to boil. Season the shrimp with salt & pepper according to individual preferences. In a large, heavy skillet or wide saucepan, heat olive oil on a medium-high heat and add the shrimp. For a minute, do not stir. Then, turn the shrimp & toss in the pan until pink & cooked through, and seared on the edges (roughly 4 minutes). Take out & place on a plate.
  3. After turning the heat down to medium, the hot pepper flakes & garlic. Cook whilst stirring, until fragrant, )some 10-20 seconds due to the quite hot pan), and then stir in the tomatos + liquid, salt, sugar, and oregano (or thyme). Adjust the heat to med-high, and stir frequently until the tomatoes reach a brisk boil. Turn heat back down to medium & cook whilst stirring, until the tomatoes have cooked down (roughly 10 minutes). Add in the kale, stir, and simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes. Next, add the shrimp (or keep for last minute plating, as desired), take off the heat, and keep warm. If you find the sauce drying, add a little cooking water reserved from the pasta.
  4. Bring the water in the pot back up to a boil and add your spaghetti. Cook until al dente – use the package time instructions, but check for doneness a minute prior to the indicated completion time. Setting aside ½ cup of pasta water (in the event you need to moisten the sauce more), drain the pasta and toss it through the tomato kale mixture. Add reserved water only if the sauce seems dry. Plate up each portion of the pasta (and top each portion with 3 shrimp if you didn’t use the shrimp in the sauce). Crumbled feta or grated Parmesan can be used to finish the dish, or placed on the table for topping by your guests.

To prepare in advance: The kale can be blanched, and the tomato sauce made, up to a maximum of 3 days in advance. Make sure to not include the shrimp in the sauce, but instead cook shortly before serving.