Pasta with Kale and Italian Sausage

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For me, pasta is the ultimate comfort food. I came up with this recipe mainly to use some groceries I had in my refrigerator for a while. This 5-ingredient dish is different from what I usually make because it doesn’t have a sauce. Instead, it relies on the bright flavor from the bell pepper, the heartiness of the kale, and the spice from the sausage. Plus, this dish totals up to just over a dollar per serving! Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch of kale
1 pound hot or mild Italian sausage
8 ounces farfalle (half of a standard 1 pound package)
ground black pepper, to taste
dried red pepper flakes, optional

Method
1. Thoroughly wash the kale, then remove the stems from the leaves. Chop the stems into small pieces, then separately chop the kale leaves into 1-inch pieces.
2. Boil water to cook the pasta according to the package directions. Do not add oil to the pasta water, as it will not do anything. To keep the pasta from sticking, stir it every couple minutes.

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3. Combine the onion, bell pepper, and kale stems in a nonstick pan on medium-high heat. Sweat the vegetables by covering the pan with a lid for a couple minutes, stirring, and covering again. This helps to soften the vegetables and retain the flavor.

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4. When the vegetables are tender, add the Italian sausage, breaking it up. Add the ground black pepper and the dried red pepper flakes.
5. When the sausage is completely cooked, add the kale leaves. Stir until the kale is cooked and everything is well combined.

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6. Drain the cooked pasta, add it to the pan, and combine. If there is any extra liquid in the bottom of the pan, keep cooking until it is absorbed. Any extra liquid will cause the pasta to become soggy when it is stored.
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Serves 4

Notes:
I do not drain the Italian sausage because the sausage I get (at Sprouts) is not extremely fatty. The (relatively) small amount of oil that comes out of the sausage actually adds flavor as it coats the pasta. I use sausage bought in bulk, not in links.
Spinach can be used instead of kale. Just don’t chop the spinach too small. Wilt it into the sausage mixture, taking care not to overcook it.
Any bite-sized pasta will work, although I prefer larger types such as farfalle or penne.
I use a bamboo paddle to cook. It doesn’t scratch the nonstick pan, and it’s easy to use to mix up the ingredients.

Equipment
1 nonstick pan
1 pot
1 chopping board
1 knife
1 cooking spoon

Cost Analysis
1 small onion at [$0.79/pound (around 6 onions) on sale at Aldi] = $0.13
1 red bell pepper at [3/$1 on sale at Sprouts] = $0.33
1 bunch of kale at [$0.98 a bunch on sale at Sprouts] = $0.98
1 pound hot Italian sausage at [$2.99/pound on sale at Sprouts] = $2.99
8 ounces farfalle at [$0.99/lb on sale at Sprouts] = $0.50
Total = $4.93 [pre-tax] or roughly $1.23 per serving
At regular prices at my local Sprouts, this totals at around $7.00.

Print-Friendly Recipe
Pasta with Kale and Italian Sausage
by halite & piper

Ingredients
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch of kale
1 pound hot or mild Italian sausage
8 ounces farfalle
ground black pepper, to taste
dried red pepper flakes, optional

Method
1. Wash and de-stem the kale. Chop the stems into small pieces. Chop the kale leaves into 1-inch pieces.
2. Boil water and cook the pasta.
3. Sweat the onion, bell pepper, and kale stems in a nonstick pan on medium-high heat.
4. When the vegetables are tender, add the Italian sausage, ground black pepper, and the dried red pepper flakes.
5. When the sausage is completely cooked, add the kale leaves.
6. Drain the cooked pasta, add it to the pan, and combine. If there is any extra liquid in the bottom of the pan, keep cooking until it is absorbed.

Serves 4

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