Over the past year, I’ve slowly and stealthfully been converting Adam from a kale-hater to a total convert, and this Cavatappi sausage and kale recipe is one of our current favorite ways to incorporate the superfood into delicious dinners. If you get creative, you don’t have to eat a kale salad (even though I love a good salad) to get your kale fix. I mean, what’s not to love about a pasta with chunky, slightly-creamy tomato sauce, lots of garlic and salty parmesan grated on top of it all? You barely even notice you’re eating a full serving of veggies. We do disagree on one thing, however: Adam thinks this Cavatappi sausage and kale recipe resembles a super gourmet, healthier version of Hamburger Helper; an idea that I find totally disgusting. But I digress…
Anyway, the key to keeping this dinner healthy not heavy is using a high kale-to-pasta ratio – and don’t forget that kale dramatically shrinks down when cooked, so start out using way more than you think the dish needs. Keeping the dish light also makes it perfect to pack for lunch the following day, because you’ll definitely want to eat this pasta than once. Plus, it travels super well.
I know that one-pot dinners like this recipe are going to become especially loved at our house in these post-baby days. They come together fast, feel so cozy for the coming fall and winter seasons (who else is excited?), and most importantly, require minimal clean-up. Not to mention they are usually pretty customizable depending on what groceries you have on hand. Seriously couldn’t ask for anything more in a recipe. Do y’all have any go-to one pot meals that you’d love to share? Leave a comment to let us know, and keep reading for the recipe!
*images by Camille
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 shallot, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 lb spicy italian sausage, casings discarded
- 1/2 lb kale, tough stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
- 1/2 lb dried cavatappi, cavatelli or gemelli
- 28 oz can whole tomatoes in puree
- 1/3 cup half & half
- 1 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano
- Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook shallot & garlic a couple minutes, stirring well so that garlic doesn't burn. Add sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring salted cooking water to a boil, then cook pasta uncovered until al dente.
- While pasta cooks, add kale and 1/4 cup water to sausage in skillet and sauté, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until the kale is tender and wilting. Drain off a couple tablespoons of tomato purée from the can, then add entire can of tomatoes, breaking up w/ back of spoon so the tomatoes are in large chunky pieces. Simmer for a few minutes. Add a few swirls of half & half and stir into sauce. Add pasta to skillet, tossing until well-combined. Season with salt & pepper and top with grated parmesan.
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