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Leeks, Garlic, - Charred asparagus kale pasta with lemony cannellini beans

6–7 ounces dry pasta (torchiette, orecchiette, penne)

1 bunch kale, chopped in small chunks, toss the ribs

10 ounces asparagus, cut in 1-inch pieces (slice in half vertically if on the thicker side)

1 cup leeks, chopped thinly in 1/2 rounds

3 cloves garlic, chopped small

1 1/2 cups or 15 oz cannellini beans

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

lemon zest from 1 lemon

2–3 tablespoons lemon juice plus more to finish

1/3 cup reserved pasta water

2–3 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon Aleppo or red pepper flakes (optional)

Set oven to 450F if roasting the veggies in the oven. (Instructions included for both oven roasting and pan sautéing below.) cook pasta according to directions. Drain and reserve 1/3 cup of the hot pasta water. Char in OVEN: On a parchment-lined sheet pan, place cut asparagus tossed with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, on one side of the pan. Rub kale with about a teaspoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Place kale on the other side of the sheet pan and place in the preheated oven for 4-5 minutes, until kale is wilted and starting to lightly char. If you want more char broil for 1-2 minutes. OR Char in SKILLET: In a hot cast iron skillet, start with asparagus dry frying, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes, when it begins to sear remove from heat adding a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Repeat the same process with kale. Make the Sauce: Sauté leeks with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat until soft and just beginning to brown for about 3-4 minutes, add garlic sautéing 1 min more. Remove from heat. Add about half of the beans into the pan with the leeks and garlic along with 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, salt, pepper and 1/3 cup reserved pasta water. Mash together with a fork making a creamy blend. Heat up to warm. Mix the cooked pasta into the creamy bean sauce, adding the remaining whole beans, charred asparagus and kale. Add more lemon and salt to taste. Top with Aleppo (if desired), fresh chives and lots of vegan Cheesy Sprinkle! Also good with goat cheese or Parmesan.

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