I’m not exactly a carbaphob (see here and here and HERE!!!), but I find that eating pasta always induces some sort of food coma from which I’m trapped for the rest of the evening. Sweatpants, Downton Abbey and the couch; that’s pasta night. But when I whipped up this dish, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s pasta, yes- it’s hearty and fulfilling, satisfying all cravings for carbs- but it also makes me want cancel my date with Lord Grantham and run a marathon instead. No food comas here!
Whenever I use orecchiette I imagine my grandmother, gently pushing her thumbs into fresh pasta dough. It’s special that way. You can use any pasta for this dish, but I found the natural cup shape of orecchiette scooped up all the goodies, making each bite worthwhile.
Alright I’ll admit, I’m obsessed with kale; but you can use any hearty winter green in it’s place. Remove the tough stems and tear the leaves into bite sized pieces.
Mince two cloves of garlic.
The sweet Italian sausage lends some fabulous flavors to this dish. If you decide to omit the sausage, be sure to add some fresh herbs in it’s place. Remove sausage links from outer casing and roughly chop. Brown the sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Toss in the garlic and saute for a minute longer. Then add the kale, white beans and chicken broth. Saute mixture until kale is wilted but still vibrant green. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add cooked orecchiette to the pan.
Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese and serve warm.
Orecchiette with Sausage, Kale and White Beans
Serves 4 as a main course and 8 as a side
- 12 oz. sweet Italian sausage links (about 4 links), casings removed. I used chicken sausage
- 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
- 1 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 lb orecchiette pasta
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add orecchiette pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. The pasta should be cooked, but still firm. Drain pasta.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and saute until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic. Saute for one minute. Pour in chicken stock, white beans and kale and saute until kale is wilted but not soggy, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Remove skillet from heat and toss pasta into the mixture until combined. Add Parmesan cheese and serve warm.