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Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale Recipe

The fusion of Italian sausage with the humble but nutritious kale, all carried on a bed of orecchiette pasta, creates a harmonious balance. The bitterness of the kale complements the savory sausage while the pasta binds it all together. The finish of crispy parmesan breadcrumbs brings a satisfying crunch to this dish, making it a hearty and well-rounded meal.

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Photos of Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale Recipe

Orecchiette pasta, also known as 'little ears' for their unique shape, may be an unfamiliar item on your shopping list. You can find them in the pasta aisle of most supermarkets. Similarly, bulk Italian sausage is something you might want to look for in the butcher's section. Lastly, kale is a leafy green vegetable that's not only nutritious but also adds a nice texture to this dish. It is usually located with other fresh greens.

Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale Ingredients

Orecchiette pasta: A type of pasta shaped like 'little ears' which is great for scooping up chunky sauces and ingredients.

Italian sausage: A savory meat that brings a lot of flavors and a nice texture to the dish.

Kale: A leafy green vegetable that's not only nutritious but also adds a nice texture to the dish.

Shallot: A type of onion with a mild flavor that enhances the overall taste of the dish.

Garlic: Adds a robust and aromatic flavor to the dish.

Pasta water: Used to create a light sauce that makes the dish moist and flavorful.

Lemon: Its juice adds a refreshing tanginess that balances out the richness of the other ingredients.

Butter: Used to fry the breadcrumbs for a crispy texture.

Breadcrumbs: Gives a nice crunch to the dish when fried to golden brown.

Parmesan cheese: Adds a salty, umami flavor to the dish and the breadcrumbs.

Red pepper flakes: Give a spicy kick to the dish, adding depth to its flavor profile.

One reader, Devonna Ramos says:

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This orecchiette pasta with sausage and kale recipe is a game-changer! The combination of savory Italian sausage, hearty kale, and perfectly cooked orecchiette creates a symphony of flavors. The crispy parmesan breadcrumbs on top add a delightful crunch. It's a must-try for pasta lovers!

Devonna Ramos

Techniques Required

How to prepare parmesan breadcrumbs: Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, toss together breadcrumbs, parmesan, and red pepper flakes. Pour into skillet and stir to coat with butter. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, tossing occasionally until browned. Set aside until ready to eat.

How to cook orecchiette pasta: Fill a large pot with water and set it over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of kosher salt (or 2 teaspoons table salt) per quart of water. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and stir it rapidly to separate the pasta, since the orecchiette has a tendency to stick together. Cook for 9 to 11 minutes until al dente. Scoop out a cup of the pasta water, then drain and rinse the pasta to stop the cooking.

How to cook Italian sausage with kale: Add the Italian sausage in small chunks to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, letting the sausage render out the fat, for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through. If the skillet is very dry, add a drizzle of olive oil before the next ingredients go in. Add the chopped kale, shallot, and garlic to the skillet. Stir to combine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until kale is wilted.

How to finish the pasta dish: Add the cooked orecchiette, ½ cup pasta water, and lemon juice to the skillet. Toss to combine and heat until the pasta water thickens to form a light sauce. If the pasta seems dry, add more pasta water. Serve pasta in shallow bowls garnished with the crispy breadcrumb topper.

How To Make Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale

Make a filling dinner in 30 minutes with this orecchiette pasta recipe. It’s cooked with Italian sausage and kale, served topped with crispy breadcrumbs.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 12ozorecchiette pasta
  • 16ozbulk Italian sausage
  • 1kale,(large bunch), purple or tuscan, de-stemmed and leaves chopped
  • 1large shallot,sliced
  • 2clovesgarlic,sliced
  • ½cupsalted pasta water
  • 1lemon,juice only
  • salt,to taste

For the Crispy Parmesan Breadcrumbs:

  • 2tbspbutter
  • ½cupbreadcrumbs
  • ½cupgrated Parmesan cheese
  • ½tspred pepper flakes,optional

Instructions

Parmesan Breadcrumbs:

  1. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, toss together breadcrumbs, parmesan, and red pepper flakes to avoid any huge parmesan clumps.

  2. Pour into skillet and stir to coat with butter. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, tossing occasionally until browned. Set aside until ready to eat.

Pasta:

  1. Fill a large pot with water and set it over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of kosher salt (or 2 teaspoons table salt) per quart of water.

  2. The water should taste seasoned, but not seawater-salty. It’s important to get the salt level right in the water as it will be used to finish the recipe.

  3. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and stir it rapidly to separate the pasta, since the orecchiette has a tendency to stick together.

  4. Cook for 9 to 11 minutes until al dente. Scoop out a cup of the pasta water, then drain and rinse the pasta to stop the cooking.

  5. While the pasta cooks, add the Italian sausage in small chunks to a large skillet over medium heat.

  6. Cook, letting the sausage render out the fat, for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through.

  7. At this point, there should be enough fat from the sausage in the skillet, but if the skillet is very dry, add a drizzle of olive oil before the next ingredients go in.

  8. Add the chopped kale, shallot, and garlic to the skillet. Stir to combine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until kale is wilted.

  9. Add the cooked orecchiette, ½ cup pasta water, and lemon juice to the skillet. Toss to combine and heat until the pasta water thickens to form a light sauce. If the pasta seems dry, add more pasta water.

  10. Serve pasta in shallow bowls garnished with the crispy breadcrumb topper

  11. Store leftovers in the fridge for 5 to 6 days. Reheat in the microwave with a splash of water or over the stove in a skillet on medium-high heat.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 615.04kcal
  • Fat: 32.32g
  • Saturated Fat: 13.28g
  • Trans Fat: 0.16g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 12.97g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.86g
  • Carbohydrates: 55.18g
  • Fiber: 3.76g
  • Sugar: 4.01g
  • Protein: 25.30g
  • Cholesterol: 76.06mg
  • Sodium: 804.24mg
  • Calcium: 233.22mg
  • Potassium: 520.62mg
  • Iron: 2.73mg
  • Vitamin A: 170.64µg
  • Vitamin C: 34.83mg

Essential Technique Tip for Perfecting Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale

When cooking the orecchiette pasta, it's crucial to stir it rapidly once it's added to the boiling water. This type of pasta has a tendency to stick together due to its shape. By stirring it immediately and vigorously, you ensure that each piece remains separate, leading to a more enjoyable texture in your final dish. Additionally, when adding the kale to the skillet, ensure it's chopped into bite-sized pieces for easier eating and better incorporation into the pasta.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale

Prep ahead: Chop the kale, shallot, and garlic in advance to save time during the cooking process.

One-pot cooking: Use a large skillet to cook the sausage and kale while the pasta is boiling to minimize the number of dishes to clean up later.

Multitask: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the parmesan breadcrumbs to save time and streamline the cooking process.

Quick cleanup: Clean as you go to avoid a big mess in the kitchen, making the post-cooking cleanup much faster.

Organize ingredients: Before starting, gather all the ingredients and utensils needed for the recipe to avoid last-minute searches and delays.

Substitute Ingredients For Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale Recipe

  • orecchiette pasta - Substitute with farfalle pasta: Farfalle pasta has a similar shape and texture, making it a suitable substitute for orecchiette in this recipe.

  • Italian sausage - Substitute with chorizo sausage: Chorizo sausage provides a flavorful and slightly spicy alternative to Italian sausage, adding a unique twist to the dish.

  • kale - Substitute with Swiss chard: Swiss chard offers a similar earthy flavor and hearty texture, making it a great substitute for kale in this recipe.

  • shallot - Substitute with red onion: Red onion can be used as a substitute for shallots, providing a slightly stronger flavor and similar texture.

  • garlic - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic, providing a convenient alternative without compromising flavor.

  • pasta water - Substitute with vegetable broth: Vegetable broth can be used as a substitute for pasta water, adding depth of flavor to the dish.

  • lemon - Substitute with white wine vinegar: White wine vinegar can be used as a substitute for lemon, providing a tangy acidity to the dish.

  • breadcrumbs - Substitute with panko breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs offer a light and crispy texture, making them a suitable substitute for regular breadcrumbs.

  • parmesan cheese - Substitute with pecorino Romano cheese: Pecorino Romano cheese provides a similar salty and nutty flavor, making it a great substitute for parmesan in this recipe.

  • red pepper flakes - Substitute with paprika: Paprika can be used as a substitute for red pepper flakes, adding a mild heat and vibrant color to the dish.

How to Beautifully Present Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the orecchiette pasta with sausage and kale, focus on creating an elegant and visually appealing presentation. Use a wide, shallow bowl to showcase the vibrant colors and textures of the dish. Arrange the pasta and sausage mixture in the center of the bowl, allowing the crispy parmesan breadcrumbs to cascade over the top for a stunning visual effect.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Add a touch of freshness and color to the dish by garnishing with freshly chopped parsley or basil. Sprinkle the herbs over the pasta just before serving to enhance the overall presentation and provide a pop of green that complements the other ingredients.

  3. Incorporate artistic drizzling: Elevate the plating by incorporating artistic drizzling of olive oil or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice around the rim of the bowl. This not only adds a touch of sophistication to the presentation but also enhances the flavors of the dish.

  4. Consider the use of edible flowers: For an extra touch of elegance, consider adding a few edible flowers such as nasturtiums or borage to the plating. The vibrant colors and delicate appearance of the flowers will elevate the visual appeal of the dish and impress the culinary professionals.

  5. Focus on symmetry and balance: Pay attention to the placement of each component on the plate, aiming for symmetry and balance. The arrangement should be visually appealing and showcase the different elements of the dish in a harmonious and deliberate manner.

  6. Use high-quality serving utensils: When presenting the dish, opt for high-quality serving utensils such as elegant tongs or a polished stainless steel serving spoon. The use of sophisticated utensils adds a touch of refinement to the overall presentation.

  7. Highlight the texture of the orecchiette: Emphasize the unique shape and texture of the orecchiette pasta by ensuring that it is showcased prominently in the plating. Arrange the pasta in a visually appealing manner that allows its distinct shape to shine through.

  8. Create a focal point: Design the plating to create a focal point that draws the eye and captures attention. Whether it's a carefully placed garnish or a strategic arrangement of the ingredients, the focal point should be visually captivating and showcase the artistry of the dish.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making This Delicious Pasta Recipe

  • Large pot: A large pot is essential for boiling the pasta. It should be big enough to hold the pasta and water comfortably.
  • Skillet: A skillet is used for cooking the Italian sausage and kale. It should be large enough to accommodate all the ingredients without overcrowding.
  • Medium skillet: A medium skillet is used specifically for making the crispy parmesan breadcrumbs. It should be large enough to hold the breadcrumbs and allow for easy stirring.
  • Small bowl: A small bowl is used for tossing together the breadcrumbs, parmesan, and red pepper flakes before adding them to the skillet.
  • Colander: A colander is used for draining and rinsing the cooked pasta.
  • Food processor: A food processor can be used to make homemade breadcrumbs if desired.
  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl is used for tossing together the breadcrumbs, parmesan, and red pepper flakes before adding them to the skillet.

How To Store and Freeze Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale

  • To store leftovers, allow the orecchiette pasta with sausage and kale to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 5-6 days.
  • When reheating, add a splash of water or pasta water to the dish and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium-high heat until warmed through.
  • For longer storage, you can freeze the pasta dish. To do this, let the pasta cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
  • Label the container or bag with the date and contents, and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat frozen pasta, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Once thawed, reheat the pasta in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a little water or pasta water to help loosen the sauce and prevent the pasta from drying out.
  • Note: The texture of the pasta and vegetables may change slightly after freezing and reheating, but the dish will still be flavorful and enjoyable.
  • If you plan on freezing the pasta, consider undercooking the orecchiette slightly (about 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions) to prevent it from becoming mushy when reheated.
  • Store the crispy parmesan breadcrumbs separately in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. This will help maintain their crunchy texture. Add them to the reheated pasta just before serving.

How To Reheat Leftovers

  • Reheat the orecchiette pasta in a large skillet over medium heat. Add a splash of water or chicken broth to the pan to help loosen the sauce and prevent the pasta from drying out. Stir occasionally until the pasta is heated through and the sauce is creamy.
  • For a crispy texture, reheat the orecchiette pasta in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C). Transfer the pasta to an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking to allow the top to crisp up slightly.
  • If you have a microwave, you can reheat individual portions of the orecchiette pasta in a microwave-safe bowl. Add a splash of water or chicken broth to the bowl, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Stir the pasta halfway through the reheating process to ensure even heating.
  • For a quick and easy reheat, use an air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C), place the leftover orecchiette pasta in the basket, and cook for 3-5 minutes or until heated through and slightly crispy on the edges. Shake the basket halfway through the reheating process to ensure even heating.
  • If you want to add some extra flavor to your leftover orecchiette pasta, sauté some additional garlic and shallots in a pan with a little olive oil before adding the pasta. You can also add some fresh herbs like basil or parsley to brighten up the flavors.

Random Fact about Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale

The orecchiette pasta with sausage and kale recipe is a delicious and hearty dish that combines the flavors of Italian sausage, kale, and crispy parmesan breadcrumbs. This recipe is a great way to incorporate leafy greens into your diet and is packed with flavor and nutrients. Kale is a superfood that is high in vitamins K, A, and C, as well as being a good source of fiber. The combination of flavors and textures in this dish makes it a satisfying and comforting meal that is perfect for a cozy night in. Enjoy!

Is Making Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale Economical for Home Cooking?

The orecchiette pasta with sausage and kale recipe is a cost-effective option for a household. The ingredients, such as Italian sausage and kale, are affordable and readily available. The dish offers a satisfying and hearty meal for a family of four at an approximate cost of $15. With a rating of 8/10, this recipe provides a balance of flavors and textures, making it a delicious and budget-friendly choice for home-cooked meals.

Is This Pasta Dish Healthy or Unhealthy?

This orecchiette pasta with sausage and kale recipe has both healthy and unhealthy elements. On the positive side, it includes nutrient-dense ingredients like kale, which is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and antioxidants. The recipe also incorporates garlic and shallots, which offer various health benefits, such as boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation.

However, the recipe also contains some less healthy components. The Italian sausage is likely high in saturated fat and sodium, which can contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure when consumed in excess. Additionally, the crispy parmesan breadcrumbs, while delicious, add extra calories, fat, and sodium to the dish.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Opt for a leaner protein source, such as ground turkey or chicken, instead of Italian sausage. Season the meat with Italian herbs and spices to maintain the flavor profile.
  • Increase the amount of kale or add other nutrient-rich vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, or bell peppers, to boost the dish's overall nutritional value.
  • Reduce the amount of butter and parmesan cheese in the breadcrumb topping, or replace them with healthier alternatives like olive oil and nutritional yeast.
  • Use whole wheat or legume-based orecchiette pasta to increase the fiber content and provide a more balanced macronutrient profile.
  • Adjust the salt content by using less in the pasta water and relying more on herbs and spices for flavor.

Editor's Thoughts on This Delightful Pasta Dish

The orecchiette pasta with sausage and kale recipe is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The use of Italian sausage adds a rich and savory element, while the kale provides a fresh and slightly bitter contrast. The addition of crispy parmesan breadcrumbs offers a delightful crunch and a hint of nuttiness. The dish is well-balanced and satisfying, making it a perfect choice for a comforting and flavorful meal. The recipe's simplicity and versatility make it a great option for both weeknight dinners and special occasions. Overall, it's a delicious and well-rounded dish that is sure to please any palate.

Enhance Your Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Asparagus: Tender asparagus spears roasted to perfection with a crispy garlic parmesan topping.
Honey Glazed Carrots with Thyme: Sweet and savory glazed carrots with a hint of thyme for a burst of flavor.
Balsamic Grilled Vegetables: Assorted vegetables grilled to perfection and drizzled with a tangy balsamic glaze for a delicious side dish.
Creamy Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms: Smooth and creamy polenta topped with savory roasted mushrooms for a comforting and satisfying side dish.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Love Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale

Creamy Mushroom Risotto: This creamy mushroom risotto is a comforting and flavorful dish that is perfect for a cozy night in. The combination of earthy mushrooms and creamy risotto rice creates a rich and satisfying meal that will leave you wanting more.
Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi: Garlic butter shrimp scampi is a quick and easy dish that is bursting with flavor. The tender shrimp are cooked in a delicious garlic butter sauce and served over a bed of pasta, making it a perfect weeknight meal.
Honey Balsamic Glazed Chicken: This honey balsamic glazed chicken is a sweet and savory dish that is sure to impress. The chicken is marinated in a flavorful honey balsamic glaze and then baked to perfection, resulting in juicy and tender meat with a delicious caramelized crust.

Appetizers and Desserts That Complement Orecchiette Pasta Perfectly

Appetizers:
Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a flavorful filling using a combination of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. The earthy flavor of the mushrooms pairs perfectly with the savory filling, making it a delightful appetizer for any occasion.
Crispy Zucchini Fritters: Grate zucchini and mix it with herbs, cheese, and flour to create a batter. Fry the batter until golden brown and crispy, then serve with a side of creamy dipping sauce for a delicious and satisfying appetizer.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth after a delicious meal.
Apple Crisp: Enjoy the warm and comforting flavors of baked apples, cinnamon, and a crispy oat topping. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delightful dessert that is sure to please everyone at the table.

Why trust this Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful combination of Italian sausage, hearty kale, and zesty lemon juice, creating a harmonious blend of flavors and textures. The addition of crispy parmesan breadcrumbs provides a satisfying crunch, elevating the dish to a new level of indulgence. With a focus on simple yet vibrant ingredients, this recipe promises a satisfying and comforting meal that celebrates the essence of homemade cooking. Trust in the traditional flavors and techniques used in this recipe to deliver a memorable dining experience.

Discuss this Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale Recipe and share your own twists in the Recipe Sharing forum.
FAQ:
Can I use a different type of pasta for this recipe?
Yes, you can definitely use a different type of pasta if you prefer. Penne, fusilli, or farfalle would all work well with this recipe.
Can I substitute the Italian sausage with another type of meat?
Absolutely! You can use ground beef, turkey, or chicken as a substitute for the Italian sausage. You can also use plant-based sausage for a vegetarian option.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the sausage and kale mixture ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. When you're ready to serve, simply reheat the mixture and toss it with freshly cooked pasta.
Can I freeze the leftovers?
Yes, you can freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months. Thaw the leftovers in the refrigerator overnight and reheat them in a skillet or microwave before serving.
Can I omit the breadcrumbs for a gluten-free option?
Absolutely! You can omit the breadcrumbs or use gluten-free breadcrumbs to accommodate a gluten-free diet. The dish will still be delicious without the breadcrumbs.

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