There's something about sausage that melds so well with pasta in a creamy sauce. I prefer using sweet Italian sausage, which pairs quite nicely with the slight bitterness of the kale. So many variations are possible with this dish, from adding a little tomato (sauce or sun-dried), bell pepper or eggplant, to sprinkling in red pepper flakes for heat.
Can't a date night be with the whole family cooking together? Get everyone involved (especially the kids) with this super-easy recipe. Add a tangy arugula salad with a lemon vinaigrette or skip a salad since there's with plenty of kale in the pasta.
- Cooking the pasta al dente is important since we are adding it to the cream sauce to finish cooking.
- Reserve some of the starchy pasta water and add it to the sauce if it needs more liquid.
- Browning the sausage in the skillet is essential and will give the sauce tons of flavor from the fond (little brown bits left behind). Avoid using a nonstick skillet to optimize this flavor development.
More Delicious Pasta Recipes to Try
Sausage and Kale Pasta Recipe
- 12 oz. pasta (such as fusilli or orecchiette)
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 4 chopped garlic cloves , divided
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Olive oil
- ⅔ lb. sweet Italian sausage , removed from casings
- 1 bunch lacinato kale , rinsed, stems removed and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta al dente in heavily salted water.
- Make the breadcrumbs by melting the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and adding half the garlic. Cook for 1 minute, and then add panko breadcrumbs to toast, stirring frequently. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Make the dish in the same pan, by wiping it down and adding a drizzle of olive oil. Then add the sausage, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon and cooking until browned and cooked through. Transfer sausage to a plate (leaving the fat in the pan).
- Add the remaining garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the kale and cook for a few minutes until it starts to become tender, stirring frequently. Then add the cream. Turn down the heat, season well with salt and pepper and continue to simmer for a few minutes until sauce thickens.
- Add the sausage back along with the cooked pasta and warm through before removing from the heat and sprinkling in the grated Parmesan. Taste for seasoning.
- Serve with a sprinkle of garlic breadcrumbs and more Parmesan on top.
- Lacinato kale is also called cavolo nero, Tuscan kale, Italian kale, dinosaur kale, flat kale among other names.
- Optional add-in ideas: a little tomato (sauce or sun-dried), bell pepper or eggplant, or sprinkle in red pepper flakes for heat. Just consider how long the add-in will take to cook and plan accordingly.