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This tasty skillet dish features lots of vegetables, a few links of rosemary chicken sausage and pasta in a creamy sauce. Though I try not to default to pasta dishes too often, the truth is that a good casserole/pasta bake like this is a valuable tool in your recipe book, a quick and easy weeknight meal that can be adapted to accommodate what’s in the fridge and stretched to feed a crowd or provide leftovers. This combination of ingredients was surprisingly flavorful and delicious, though substitutions would be simple: you could use a mild Italian sausage or none at all, try spinach instead of kale, use chicken (or vegetable) broth instead of wine. I used Uli’s rosemary chicken sausage, an inexpensive pinot gris from Trader Joe’s and some roasted tomatoes from the salad bar at my grocery store. With so many big, elaborate dinners on the near horizon, it’s refreshing to know I can whip this up at a moment’s notice and have a filling, tasty dinner.

Pasta with Kale & Chicken Sausage (serves 6-8)

  • 1/2 lb. pasta, gemelli or rotini recommended
  • 1 tsp. grapeseed or olive oil
  • 2 – 3 links of rosemary chicken sausage
  • 1/4 c. diced shallot
  • 1/4 c. diced green pepper
  • 8 c. baby kale*, rinsed
  • 1/2 c. fire-roasted tomatoes
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 c. cream
  • grated ricotta salata to garnish

In a large pot with a pinch of salt in the water, cook your pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside, reserving 1/4 c. or so of the cooking liquid.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the sausage links until they are brown and cooked through (about 10 mins.); remove the links from the pan to a plate or cutting board. Add the shallots and green peppers to the pan and saute for 5-7 mins. until the shallots are starting to brown and soften. Add the kale to the pan and cover, allowing to wilt for 1-2 mins. before stirring. (Add the kale in batches if necessary.) When the kale has cooked down a bit, maybe 2 mins., season with salt & pepper and add red pepper flakes, if using. Add sherry vinegar and tomatoes and stir to incorporate, then add wine. Allow the wine to cook off for about 1 min.; cover and steam for another 5 mins. or so, until the kale is cooked to your liking. Cut the cooked sausage into pennies or bite-sized pieces and add it back to the pan with the reserved pasta; mix and taste for seasoning. Use the reserved pasta-cooking water 1 T. at a time to loosen the sauce, if necessary. Just before serving, pour the cream over the hot pasta and toss to combine. Grate a small amount of ricotta salata over each portion and serve.

*I use baby kale because the stems are not tough enough that I have to remove them. You can use “adult” kale, just remove the tough stem from each leaf or adjust cooking time accordingly.