Pasta in a sausage and kale cream sauce

Last night Caitlin asked what was for dinner and suggested maybe pasta. I knew we had some sausage that needed to be cooked and some greens, so I decided to put it all together for one of our favorite dishes.

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2 links of italian sausage
1/2 a package of pasta (8 oz.)
some cream
4-5 leaves of kale or other green
cooking oil (like olive or coconut)
butter
salt
grated parmesan cheese (optional)

  1. Boil some water, add more salt than you think you should, and start the pasta. And for the love of all things, turn the heat down once it starts boiling again. You want a rolling boil, but you don’t want it boiling over every 30 seconds.
  2. Wash the kale, then strip the stems (see below for a tip for how to do that quickly) and chop them up. Cut up the leafy bits into strips.
  3. Heat oil in a pan at medium-high heat and sauté the kale stems for a couple of minutes like you would onions. Then add the sausage (I like to squeeze it out of the casing and break it up) and a little salt if you like.
  4. Cook until the sausage is just about ready, then add the leafy bits and cover the pan. Taste the pasta; it should be almost done (in the time it takes the pasta to finish cooking and for you to prep it it, the greens will be nicely cooked).
  5. Drain the pasta and return it to its pot off the heat. Add the sausage-kale mixture to the pasta and stir it up. Add a nob of butter, pour in some of the cream (maybe two glugs) and some cheese, and stir.
  6. Put it in some bowls, sprinkle some of the extra parm you have from when you ordered pizza at the hospital, and serve.

This dish feels like real cooking but is dead simple and great. You can use any kind of sausage (maybe not breakfast sausage) and any kind of green (kale, broccoli, chard, spinach, orach, etc.). On a separate note, one trick you can use to keep greens fresh in the fridge is either wrap them in a dish towel or keep them in a plastic bag with a paper towel thrown in.

The cream you use doesn’t matter either. Did you know that the difference between whipping cream and heavy cream is just a little cream of tartar? Actually, maybe that’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder. In any case, for this recipe, it doesn’t matter. You could even use milk: you just may want to add a little more butter.

For the pasta, if you have a choice use something with texture so it will hold the sauce.

And here’s the trick for stripping the kale: fold the leaves around the stem and pinch them with your finger, then grab the stem with the other hand and pull it through your first hand. The leaves should separate nice and clean.

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Pasta in a sausage and kale cream sauce

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