Everything but the kitchen sink . . . La Cucina literally translates as ”the kitchen” in Italian. It is also used in the Marche region as the colloquial name for a dish of mixed sautéed greens that includes whatever you have on hand. This sautéing method works well for a wide variety of hearty greens. The dish works best if you use a combination of mild and bitter greens. Mild varieties include: beet greens, chard, kale, cabbage, and spinach. Bitter varieties include: chicory, dandelion, and mustard.
Dinosaur Kale, or Tuscan Kale grows in abundance locally here. The lush, dark green, bumpy leaves are super-nutritious: a cup provides more than 100% of the daily value of vitamins K and A, and 88%of the DV for vitamin C. Like other members of the cruciferous family (cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts), kale is a rich source of organosulfur compounds that have been linked to cancer prevention. Lucky for us, it’s easy to grow in our climate and can be found everywhere — green grocers, farmers markets and supermarket stores. We like to pair this dish with a side garlicky beans for a satisfying, comforting supper.
La Cucina — Sautéed Greens
1-1/4 pounds mixed leafy greens (such as Dino Kale or chard), washed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled, and finely minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste!)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, for garnish
If the greens have thick hardy stems, remove the stems and slice the stems in ½-inch slices and the greens in 1-inch slices (place stems and greens in separate bowls.)
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the stems only. The stems will take the longest to cook, putting them in the pan first will ensure they are ready at the same time the leaves are. Season with salt and pepper and cook covered for 5 minutes. Add the leaves, as many as you can fit at a time, and turn them gently to wilt. Continue adding greens and turning them over until you have added all the leaves. Season leaves with salt and pepper and add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 3 minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, and cook covered for 10 minutes or until the liquid is gone and the greens are fully cooked.
Eat your leafy greens!