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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This looks so good! I love your recipes and my family does too! I do wish I could print them off as a PDF instead of printing off the blog post. Maybe I’m not doing something right?
So cool! Looked yummy!
We tried this! Was DELISH! We did it veg style and left out the sausage, added more greens. I have to say, we had leftovers the next day and it was even tastier then because everything had the night to meld together. xo
Kale and cavatappi – a winning combination. Can’t wait to have this in my mouth.
I made this tonight for my family and it was a hit! It was so delicious and I loved the kale and sausage combination! Thank you so much for such a great recipe! It will be my go-to for quick and easy dinners.
Just made this the other night, and it was Fantastic! I made a couple of small tweaks to the recipe:
I used bucatini pasta instead of cavatappi (what we had in the cabinet) It was dope.
2 cloves garlic (I love the stuff)
Spicy Italian chicken sausage in place of pork
pinch of dried oregano and pinch of red pepper flakes
Fire roasted tomatoes in lieu of the regular kind. And after adding the tomatoes, but before adding the h&h, I filled the tomato can about 3/4 full with water and added to the pan, then allowed that to reduce so the kale, tomato, shallot, meat sauce could intensify a bit.
Other than that, made as is and just LOVED it. Thanks for a great, healthy recipe!
Great tweaks – garlic never hurts, only helps! And I’ve become a total fire-roasted tomatoes convert. I almost always sub them for the regular kind now! Thanks for sharing Lindsay! xo
Sorry for my Aussie ignorance but what is h&h?
Half & Half is a product that is just half milk / half cream. You could easily substitute with heavy cream.