Sausage Kale Pasta

Sausage Kale Pasta
Pasta is the definite go-to at our house for a quick meal straight from the pantry with a flavorful addition like pesto or slow roasted tomatoes. A generous splash of olive oil and a few fat garlic cloves are key to a perfect meal. If it weren’t for my occasional moments of carbohydrate-induced guilt, I think I would be content with a bowl of pasta nearly every night of the week.  With its infinite shapes and adaptability, pasta can be easily transformed into a completely different dish with minimal effort.

Even though pasta takes little time to throw together, it is not always ideal for a crowd because of the risk of losing that essential al dente bite. I baked sausage kale pasta in a casserole that I served by the heaping scoopful. The pasta had a little kick thanks to spicy Italian chicken sausage. Rather than overdoing it with gooey cheese, I used part skim ricotta and finished it with grated Parmesan. The end result was an appealing crusty top layer that contrasted with the tomato ricotta filling.

Sausage Kale Pasta
Sausage Kale Pasta

Serves 6-8

1 pound penne pasta
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed (I used chicken sausage.)
1 white onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
1-15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup part skim ricotta
2 ounces Parmesan, grated

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bring salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Cook the penne until just al dente according to package instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the sausage until it is browned breaking it up with a spatula. Transfer the sausage using a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.

Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions have softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, kale and beans and simmer until the kale has wilted, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl combine the pasta, sausage and tomato kale bean mixture. Fold in the ricotta and transfer to a 13×9-inch ceramic or glass baking dish. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until lightly browned.

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