Lia Hillman’s Kale, Parmesan, and Red Chili Flake Pasta

On the Menu: Kale, Parmesan, and Red Chili Pasta

Our last class was hosted by the one and only Lia Hillman. You can catch her at the public library (main branch) where she is a librarian, but also teaching and showing people the benefits of cooking, not only for your health, but also for the satisfaction and experience food can provide for us all. She received the “I Love My Librarian” award in New York City for her achievements. With time behind the line (Zuni, among others), she has a mind full of insight towards food and is eager to help anyone out. 


During our class she chose a robust, yet light recipe for a delicious meal. Mixing a handful of ingredients led to a dish that fed many, and did not deplete your cash. What you need: Kale, pasta, garlic, olive oil, parmesan, red chili flakes, salt, and pepper. The students started off by learning some interesting facts about the health benefits of kale and started smashing and slicing some garlic. Beautiful leaves of kale were sliced to add to the pan later. Quick Tip: Don’t cut your kale too small, when cooking the kale will wilt (shrink) so you can stuff the pan. 

As soon as the garlic started to sizzle noses whiffed a scent, which resulted in many growling stomachs. When the kale hit the pan a crackling sound engulfed the kitchen, do not panic this is just the water escaping the kale. This vegetable does not take long to cook so stir it occasionally.

Your pasta should be ready in about 10 minutes for a nice al dente texture (which is just cooked but before it’s too soft – read the suggested time on the box and go on the shorter side). Once the pasta is strained throw it back in the pot and throw your kale in along with some parmesan cheese and mix. Garnish with a little more cheese, grab some forks, and eat away.












You can learn more recipes by stopping by the San Francisco Public Library.

You can learn many more recipes by dropping in at the San Francisco Public Library, where they have a variety of cookbooks. More of a hands-on learner? Great! There are different classes the library hosts that range from nutritional eating to planting seeds. If you are ever at the main branch and want some culinary insight ask about Biblio Bistro.



  • 1 box of pasta (we used linguini)
  • 2-4 bunches of kale, cut up
  • Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

That’s it!

Step 1: First of all, get your water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, add salt and olive oil to the water and gently add in your pasta. As soon as the bottom half is somewhat soft, gently turn your pasta with a pair of tongs so that your pasta does not break.

Step 2: Smash some garlic and slice it, depending on how much kale you are using you may need more or less. (Use about 5-6 cloves for this amount). Pour some olive oil in a large pan, once hot add in your garlic, and let it lightly brown.

Step 3: Add your sliced kale to the pan. Stir occasionally. Season with some salt, pepper, and red chili flakes, and allow to cook until they have shrunk in size. If you want the kale to be a little crunchier cook for a shorter period of time. Don’t be afraid to add in large handfuls of the kale, they will shrink A LOT.

Step 4: Strain your pasta from the pot, and place the pasta back in the pot, then add a generous amount of olive oil to give the pasta a nice shine. Add in your kale, along with your parmesan cheese. Mix all three of these beautiful ingredients together and prepare yourself for the meal.

Step 5: Get some bowls, use some tongs or a large spoon and fork to grab a nice pile of pasta and twist it into the bowl for that mountain effect. Garnish with some more parmesan. If you happen to have some herbs, like pasrley, finely chop that for a little kick of freshness and sprinkle it on top.

Step 6: You’re done!!! Eat!!!


As always, from our kitchen to yours, happy cooking!

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