Creamy Kale Pasta Bake



  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 16-ounce package chopped fresh kale
  • 4 cups 1% milk
  • 6 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 8-ounce package pre-shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounces uncooked medium-size shell pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • ½ cup panko
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Preheat broiler with oven rack 8 to 9 inches from heat. Bring 4 quarts water and salt to a boil in a Dutch oven over high. Add chopped kale; cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Cool 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place milk in a 1-quart glass measuring cup. Cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 3 minutes.
  3. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium. Add onion, and cook until tender. Add flour, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Whisk in hot milk. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a low boil, whisking often. Cook until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in cheese, hot sauce, pepper, and salt. Roughly chop kale. Add kale and cooked pasta into cheese sauce. Pour into a baking dish.
  4. Stir together panko and 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle over pasta mixture. Broil until panko is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.


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