This simple, hearty pasta will warm you on a wintry night or grace an Easter lunch buffet.  Toss a salad of crisp greens with a simple vinaigrette for a healthful, complete meal.  And the leftovers are even better the next day!

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground lamb
1 bunch lacinato or curly kale, washed, stems removed and coarsely chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock or water
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound whole wheat rotini or penne
1 ½  cups Bellwether Farms Fromage Blanc
1 cup grated Bellwether Farms San Andreas aged sheep cheese

Directions

In a large, deep pan heat the olive oil, add onions and red pepper flakes and cook until the onions soften and start to turn golden but not brown. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add the ground lamb and cook, breaking up large pieces with a spoon, until it is no longer pink. Add the kale with any water that remains on it from washing and stir to incorporate it into the meat mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted.  Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced with some juice remaining.  Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.  Simmer uncovered until the sauce has thickened a bit and the kale is tender.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until just under al dente.  Drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl.  Add the Fromage Blanc and San Andreas and stir until combined.

When the kale is tender, taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Stir about a cup of the hot sauce into the pasta mixture.  Repeat with two more cups of the sauce, stirring after each addition (this heats the cheese up gradually so it doesn’t become grainy).  Add the remaining sauce and stir well to combine everything.

Transfer the pasta to a deep ceramic baking dish and cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake the pasta for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.