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Pasta with Italian Sausage and Double Kale

(Serves 4)

I created this pasta dish to resolve an issue. My partner really likes sausage pasta with a tiny bit of kale, and I like kale pasta with a tiny bit of sausage. I use two large bunches of kale and 3-4 links of Italian sausage for this recipe, and then I plate the pasta just the way each of us like it. We each get about the same amount of pasta, but his sits under a mountain of sausage, and mine under a mountain of kale!

  • 2 large bunches of kale, cleaned and dried
  • 1 large onion
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 lb pasta (I like orecchiette, caserecce, or pipe rigate)
  • 3-4 links hot italian sausage
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Fill an 8 quart pot with water and 3 tbsp Kosher salt, and bring to a boil. Prepare pasta according to instructions. While pasta is cooking, medium dice onion, mince garlic, and roughly chop kale. When pasta is done cooking, drain, then toss with 2 tbsp olive oil and set aside while preparing rest of dish. Dry pot used for cooking pasta, and place over medium high heat. Remove sausage from casings and add to pot. Mash sausages down into a large disk, so that bottom of pan is covered as much as possible. Allow sausage to get a nice sear.

Break apart sausage into bite sized chunks and brown other sides. Push sausage to one side of pot. If sausage has released a sufficient amount of oil into the pot (about 1 1/2-2 tbsp), add onion and garlic to pot. If your sausage is not very oily, add 1-2 tbsp olive oil to pot before adding onion and garlic. Turn heat down to medium and add a small pinch of Kosher salt to onion/garlic mix, stirring to coat with oil. Cook onion and garlic until lightly browned and softened, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 of kale to pot with a small pinch of salt. Using tongs, toss kale with onions and sausage. Once the first 1/2 of kale has wilted, add the rest of the kale to pot, with another small pinch of salt. Once all the kale is wilted and stirred into sausage, onions, and garlic, add pasta to pot. Stir to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Plate pasta, and garnish with Parmesan and red pepper flakes.

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