This Kale & Sausage Pasta is one of those super satisfying pasta dishes. It feels rustic and homey. The spice from the sausage is deliciously offset by the earthiness of kale and mushrooms. And of course there's perfectly cooked au dente pasta, and a dusting of cheese to make this a hearty and delicious meal, any time of year, but especially when it's cold and dark outside.
Pasta is the ultimate carb craving satisfaction, in my books. You can use any pasta shape for this kale & sausage pasta. I'm using one of my favourites, cavatappi, a spiral shaped, ridged macaroni. Cavatappi is the Italian word for corkscrew, which perfectly describes the spiral shape of these noodles. Besides being a fun shape, this pasta, with it's hollows and ridges, it good for holding onto sauces. I love to use it for making Creamy Stove Top Mac & Cheese, but it also works well for this marinara sauce recipe.
Speaking of pasta, do you always cook too much? It's hard to gauge how much dried pasta to cook, and I find it better to cook more so that there's enough. Usually that means more than enough. But, rest assured, I have a solution to this pasta problem. I found this very handy guide on She Knows, which I thought I would share with you: A Simple Guide for Measuring Pasta Serving Sizes.
I'm discovering a new love of kale in recipes other than salads and smoothies. Raw kale has an in your face, grassy bitterness. Which means that it's perfect in salads with a sweet component, like this Strawberry Kale Salad. But when it's lightly cooked, kale becomes sweeter and much more mellow. It's dense leaves stand up really well to cooking. Unlike, spinach, which is great for “sneaking in veggies” to almost any dish, because it all but disappears, kale is a feature in recipes. Add to that, the fact that kale is a nutrition powerhouse, and you can't go wrong.
Kale and sausage come together, along with mushrooms, in a tomato basil sauce, to make this delicious hearty pasta dish. I'm using hot Italian Sausage, which gives the dish a bit of heat. You can use mild or sweet Italian sausage instead if you don't want any heat, and it will still be good.
You can reduce the fat in this recipe by first piercing the casings, and boiling the sausage. You can also substitute turkey or chicken sausage and some hot chili flakes.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 796 ml can crushed tomatoes
- 1 400 ml can diced tomatoes with juice
- 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound cavatappi pasta
- 4 cups kale leaves, torn from stems and ribs
- Freshly Grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat
- Add onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook until onion is soft and mushrooms are brown, about 5 minutes
- Add sausage to skillet and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes
- Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with juice, basil, salt and pepper to skillet
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook pasta until au dente, about 8-10 minutes
- During the last minute of pasta cooking time, add kale to the pot to blanch
- Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, and drain pasta and kale
- Add the pasta and kale to the sauce, and toss to combine
- Thin sauce with reserved pasta water, if needed
- Remove from heat and serve hot, garnished with Parmesan cheese
This recipe freezes well. Allow to cool, and pack into an airtight container before freezing.
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