Friday, February 14, 2014

Hot Italian Sausage and Kale Ragu

It is a must in our family that a veggie side is always part of our meal. In the summertime we grill everything, and in the winter we will roast or sauté veggies (and if we don't have snow, we will still grill, but that hasn't been an option this year..and I type that as 12 inches have fallen this morning). Even though we try to vary what we eat, I'm getting tired of our old standby veggies this winter - broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, asparagus, and spinach. We occasionally eat bok choy, snow peas, and sugar snap peas, but I really wanted something different last week. Little did I know that making something different would lead to me eating it three nights in a row!! I think I'm officially on a kale kick now...

I have only had kale a few times, so when I saw a huge bag of it on last week's trip to Wegmans, I threw it in my cart. Last week I saw a pasta recipe using kale, so I pulled it up on my phone and bought the rest of the ingredients - hot Italian sausage, rigatoni, and ricotta salata.

My favorite thing about kale, besides the flavor and health benefits, is that it doesn't cook down like other greens such as spinach or arugula. It's a hearty green, has great texture, and a huge bag gives you a LOT whereas a small bag of spinach might be enough for 2 people.


I love simple dishes that are packed with flavor, and this one was exactly that. The list of ingredients is very short, it cooks in 30 minutes, it comes together in one pot, and you may say "mmmmm...." with every bite, like I did! My husband kept looking at me with a look that said "I get it - you like it." I was SO glad I had leftovers to have for lunch the next day, and I'll definitely be making this again soon.

I made 2 minor changes to the recipe - I used low sodium chicken broth instead of water and did not add salt. There is enough flavor from the sausage, and the cheese and broth add the saltiness.

Hot Italian Sausage and Kale Ragu
Slightly adapted from: Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

  •  3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage links
  • 1/2 bag of kale (or 1 large bunch). I prefer the bags because the kale is triple washed and already chopped.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 oz cooked pasta; I used rigatoni
  • 1/2 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 c crumbled ricotta salata
  • 1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat
  • Cut a line down the center of each sausage link and remove the casing. Crumble the sausage into the pan, further crumbling it with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook until browned on the outside, about 5 minutes.
  • Push sausage to the sides of the pan, add the rest of the olive oil, and then add your onions and garlic; sauté 3 minutes.
  • Turn the heat down to low, add the kale, cover and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  • In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta.
  • After the kale has cooked for 20 minutes, add the chicken broth and the cooked pasta. Stir.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese and top with the ricotta salata. Serve immediately.  

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