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Chorizo & Kale Carbonara

Chorizo & Kale Carbobanara

Carbonara is a dish I eat really frequently, usually the original pancetta one, as, purist as I tend to be, I want to do it the right way. Today I varied, as I had a bag of kale and some nice chorizo and some friends that I wanted to cook lunch for. Chorizo and kale are lovely together and I wanted to veer away from my usual chorizo & tomato sauce, which, while delicious, I make too often and I need some variety in my food.

So, after I came upon the idea of making a carbonara, I wondered, as it’s not just for me, wouldn’t it be nice to make it a little luxurious with a touch of cream? Purists, forgive me, carbonara should not have cream I know, but this has kale in anyway, so, surely, I can push it further? I added just a couple of tablespoons to the eggs and smothered the penne in it before adding the chorizo & kale. It was lovely, but feel free to exclude it, it should still be good.

This recipe was for 3 comfortable portions. The sauce takes only as long as the pasta so it’s a really quick meal. Forgive the photos, it was a bit of a battle taking the photo with a half working camera in low light, whilst catching up with old friends I rarely see, and (!)… without the pasta going cold. I am such a soldier, working in these conditions ;-)

Kale & Chorizo Carbonara


350g penne
100g cooking chorizo, diced
a couple of handfuls of kale, stripped from the stem and in 1 inch shreds
2 large eggs, free range organic if possible
4 tbsp grated pecorino or parmesan
2 tbsp cream
a splash of white wine (about half a glass)
1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole
Olive oil


Cook the penne according to packet instructions.
While it’s cooking, sauté the garlic in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until golden, discard the garlic, all you want is the flavour.
Add the chorizo and cook for a few minutes until it starts to crisp.
Add the kale and cook for a few minutes further, it won’t wilt like spinach but will take on a darker green colour.
Add the wine and reduce it over a minute or so, you will smell the alcohol evaporating.
Beat the eggs and add 2 tbsp of the cheese and the cream.
When the pasta is cooked, drain and add the egg, cream & cheese mix. Stir quickly. Add the chorizo and kale. Serve in warm bowls with the remaining 2 tbsp of cheese.




  1. This combination looks luxurious!

    I rarely see kale and being new to the UK and unfamiliar with local brands, I am hesitant to buy the chorizo and pasta I see. Can you give us some tips on what to look out for and the likely price (range) of quality merchandise?

    Thanks soooo much if you can.

  2. oh yummy. i will def. have to try this recipe. it looks absolutely delicious. plus, it’s fast and easy. and has some leafy green veg in it. great post.

  3. Just the name alone is rhyming poetry! The beautiful flavors just pop off your photograph and into our mouths! Chomp! :)
    If we make this, we’ll have to add a whole glass of white wine! Thanks for that great addition!

  4. Fiona says

    I can vouch for this being a DELICIOUS meal, given i am the old friend the meal was made for – was the word ‘old’ really necessary ; ). Its great to get to eat Carbonara which I adore, with the Kale, making it feel oh so healthy and righteous. With a glass of red wine, then I am sure I MUST be getting my iron intake just right.
    Thanks for a lovely meal, one of many over the weekend. You’re the best x

  5. Deborah says

    This sounds wonderful. I don’t eat kale very often, so this would be a great way to get it into my diet!

  6. All – thanks so much for the comments. It’s been a busy week and I’ve not had much time for the blog :-(

    Thanks aforkfulofspaghetti, in my head I was imaginging a dish for St Patricks day, it’s al;l green white and gold like the irish flag, but the taste combination is great, I’ve subsequently made a macaroni cheese type dish with kale & chorizo that was very nice.

    Jo, sure, are you based in London? Best bet is to go to Spanish shops for your chorizo if you can – in London Brindisa or Garcias and for Kale, your local farmer’s market. Let me know where you are and hopefully I’ll be able to offer some advice.

    Alejandra, thank you!

    Leeann, I hope that you like it. Let me know how it goes. Kale has such a distinctive flavour and it goes well with the boldness of the chorizo and the creaminess of the carbonara.

    Whiteonricecouple – thanks! Yes, lots of white wine would be good as an accompaniment :-) Enjoy!

    Fiona, so glad you liked it dear! Always nice to feel righteous and lovely to see you, see you in Dublin next week!

    Deborah – it worked well, I’ve had a few kale experiments this week, soups and pasta dishes, it’s very versatile.

  7. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, kale is one of the best and most under-utilized/under-appreciated leafy greens out there! Not to mention it’s cheap! We eat it almost once or twice a week. And, yes, traditionally carbonara should never contain cream, but it does change the flavor a bit for those who like it creamy. And chorizo, well don’t get me started on my love for it!! You could even have a side dish of the kale and chorizo combo.

    amy @

  8. Hi Amy. Kale is lovely, it has a wonderful flavour. It’s surprisingly underused as you say. I have reused the kale & chorizo combo alot and will again :-)

  9. I am crazy abotu both curly kale AND chorizo, so this recipe may as well have my name written on it… traditionalists be damned! It’s definitely going on my “to do” list.

  10. Hear hear! Although, I am a bit of a traditionalist normally, but proved to myself that it’s worth breaking it every now and then.


  11. Nice idea – I am all for various takes on classic dishes. After all isn’t it how we all have to cook, with what we have in the cupboard. The best thing is being creative with what you have. I bet a good squeeze of Lemon on top of that would just finish it nice too! Lemon and pasta are my fave combination at the moment – a fresh taste that reminds me of summer! Oh how I want the warm weather to hurry back.

    Great site btw. :)

    • Thanks Laura! Thanks for the kind words. I was really pleased with this one and have done many a twist on it since. It’s nice to do to twists on classics, but there’s always a danger of going too far, and I’ve done that ;-)

      Lemon is gorgeous with pasta, so fresh and vibrant. I might take inspiration from your comment and play with that combination!

  12. If you want to get some lemon flavour into this dish without risking having the cream split (acid + dairy = curdling!), try adding lemon zest instead. I made a very similar dish to this recently, also with cream, but for my greens I used brussels sprouts (I peeled off the leaves first before sauteing them with the pancetta). I also used orecchiete instead of penne, not traditional but it really worked. Grated some ricotta salata onto the finished dish… it was close to perfection!

    • Hi Dana, the brussel sprouts would be lovely I am sure, and orecchiete are delicious. Sounds lovely!

  13. Pingback: Summer Pasta #2 – Broad Bean and Prosciutto Carbonara « eat like a girl

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