Penne with Spicy Sausage and Kale

I don't really have a regular menu item that I consistently make for dinner each week throughout the year.  However, one recipe that does seem to pop up on our menu a lot is Penne with Spicy Sausage and Kale.  I also like to use dandelion greens, broccoli rabe, or swiss chard instead of kale.
This is definitely a hearty meal, but I feel a little better being able to sneak in so many greens into one dish.  If you wanted to make this a lighter recipe, you could sub in chicken sausage and wheat pasta, but you might lose out on some of the flavor.  I find myself making this recipe throughout the year, but it's especially delicious as these cooler fall evenings start to kick in.
Penne with Spicy Sausage and Kale
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 large bunch of kale, stalks trimmed and quartered crosswise (can also use swiss chard, broccoli rabe, or dandelion greens)
  • 16 oz. penne pasta
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb hot Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch of dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Boil large pot of salted water. Add kale and cook for about 5 minutes. Strain kale, reserving all the cooking liquid. Set aside.
  2. Cook pasta in same pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  3. Meanwhile, in large heavy skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with spoon until the sausage is brown and juices form, about 8 min. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 30 seconds. Add kale and toss to coat.
  4. Add pasta and enough reserved cooking liquid, ¼ cup at a time to moisten. Stir Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt, and pepper in to taste. (Depending on the size of your pots, it may be easier to combine all the ingredients together in the large pot you cooked the pasta in.)

Source: Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Do you have a particular recipe that you always find yourself making for dinner?

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