Recipes

Kale Sausage Pasta

Kale sausage pasta hits that perfect category of comfort food that’s good for you!

Kale sausage pasta hits that perfect category of comfort food that's good for you!
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Kale sausage pasta has been on my weeknight dinner rotation all winter long, and I’ve yet to get tired of it. The balance of pasta in a light sauce combined with the savoriness of sausage and the heartiness of the kale makes this beautiful combination of flavors and textures in one bowl!

It’s [very] loosely modeled on a traditional pasta from Puglia, made with orichette and cime di rapa, turnip greens. But since most of us aren’t preparing multi-course meals for weeknight dinners, I rounded it out into by adding sausage and cannellini beans.

Kale sausage pasta hits that perfect category of comfort food that's good for you!
Kale sausage pasta hits that perfect category of comfort food that's good for you!

When I want hearty comfort food, my go-to flavor profiles are heavy on the cheese. This dish somehow hits all the comfort food notes while putting its emphasis on salt and acid. The result is a pasta dish that’s a bit tangy from the vinegar but still oh-so-comforting. And filling! 

If it’s possible, the leftovers are even better than the first night. The seasonings gel overnight and further infuse into the pasta, taking the flavor up a notch when you eat it as leftovers. 

Kale sausage pasta is also easy to make.  Prep the veg, boil water, and cook everything in succession. Easy enough for a weeknight when you’re already hungry but trying not to order pizza for the 3rd time this week. 

Kale sausage pasta hits that perfect category of comfort food that's good for you!
Kale sausage pasta hits that perfect category of comfort food that's good for you!

I’ve used Italian link sausage here, but you can really use whatever you like best. Just remember to remove the casings if you go with links – you want the meat to crumble in the pan as it cooks.

If you want to amp up the healthy factor, there are two easy options. One is to double the kale, adding a bit more liquid when it cooks down. The other is to cut the amount of pasta in half. If we’ve had a particularly heavy eating weekend, I may do this occasionally. But it’s a balanced meal to begin, so the recipe below is my normal ratio. 

Kale sausage pasta hits that perfect category of comfort food that's good for you!
Kale sausage pasta hits that perfect category of comfort food that's good for you!
Kale sausage pasta hits that perfect category of comfort food that's good for you!

Tools you’ll need: skillet, large pot, knife and cutting board.

Kale Sausage Pasta

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pasta, weeknight meal, winter
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 8 oz bowtie pasta or other short pasta
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 10 oz kale
  • 2 cans cannellini beans rinsed and drained
  • 12 oz ground sausage
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according the package instructions. Before draining, take out 1 cup pasta water for later.
  • Prep the vegetables: dice the onion and mince the garlic. Strip the kale leaves from stems and then chop roughly. Remove sausage from casings if necessary. Chop the fennel seeds enough to open up the pods.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet, then add sausage. Break it up and allow it to brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes more. Next, add garlic, oregano and fennel, cooking for 2 minutes more.
  • Add wine and bring up to a simmer. Once it's bubbling a bit, scrape the bottom of the pan and add kale. Cover and let it cook for 2-3 minutes more.
  • When the kale is wilted, uncover. Let the rest of the liquid cook off and then lower heat. Add the pasta, beans and 1/2 cup pasta water and cook for 3-5 minutes more, until everything is incorporated and hot.
  • Top with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar. Stir and serve!
Kale sausage pasta hits that perfect category of comfort food that's good for you!
Kale sausage pasta hits that perfect category of comfort food that's good for you!

Kale sausage pasta might be my favorite pasta dish this winter. What’s on your repeat list for weeknight dinners?

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