Smoky Pasta with Kale and Sausage


Smoky Kale and Sausage Pasta

A little bit of food prep goes a long way, especially on days when you have to throw dinner together quickly.

One of the things I like to stock in the freezer is cooked bulk sausage.  I purchase 3-5 pounds at a time from a local farmer (a delicious sage sausage-but you could do the same with sweet or spicy Italian sausage links after removing the casings), brown it, and freeze it in a large container.  It’s ready to add to pizza, sauces, or a weekend egg scramble.  This pasta dish gets its rich flavor from smoked paprika and beer.  I use slow roasted tomatoes (another staple I prepare during tomato season and keep in the freezer), but you can also use jarred sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil.

Smoky Pasta with Kale and Sausage


  • 3 sausages, casings removed and crumbled
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 12 sundried tomatoes (packed in oil in a jar), sliced
  • 1/4 cup dark beer
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 fresh sage leaf, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 pinch red cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 6 cups shredded kale or spinach
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound pasta (Yikes! I can't remember the name of the pasta I used in these photos, but choose a shape that will stand up to some skillet cooking such as orechiette or bow tie)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

In a large saute pan, heat 1 Tbsp of the oil from the jarred tomatoes. Add the sausage and brown completely. Add the tomatoes and garlic and sauté another minute. Pour the beer into the pan and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan (deglazing). Add the fresh herbs and spices and simmer one minute.

Add the kale and toss gently until just wilted. Add the cream and simmer for another 4-5 minutes to thicken and meld the flavors.

While this is simmering, cook pasta in a boiling pot of salted water according to package directions until al dente. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the pasta to the sauté pan (don't worry about draining it well). If you need to thin the sauce a bit, add more of the pasta cooking water in small amounts until sauce is desired consistency.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Top with more parmesan for serving.

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Smoky Kale and Sausage Pasta


Wrap it Up: Weekly Link List

Columbia River

I realize I’m a bit late posting on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, but you need to see the photos of the balloon release that happened.  Stunning!

Better security questions when setting up a new account on the internet.  Made me laugh.

Sign language has accents.  Who know!

I have a son with ADHD, so I was interested to read this

Joshua Tree is on my list of places to visit

This article is so disturbing and I can’t get it out of my mind.  There are people who’s job it is to monitor all content posted to the internet (specifically on social media web sites) to make sure beheadings, porno, etc. are kept off.  The long term effects of doing this kind of work and looking at this content for hours on end takes it toll.

Why we love Tina Fey

Big batch Thanksgiving cocktails

25 stores and what they should actually be called (#24 and #25!)

Come closer

Because we all needed to see this video of a baby otter learning how to swim

If you want to know what it’s really like to homeschool, my daughter will tell you

Have a great weekend!


White Bean Spinach Soup with Tortellini

White bean spinach soup

Me and tomato soup go way, way back.

When I was pregnant with my son, all I wanted the first trimester was tomato soup and grilled cheese.  Pretty straightforward, right?  Not homemade tomato soup…the canned Campbell’s condensed variety with rice.  It was easy enough that my husband could prepare it for me.  It was just about all I could stomach those first few months, but after a prenatal visit at which I lost (rather than gained weight), the doctor told me I had to increase my calories.  He gave me permission to eat lots of ice cream and I never lost weight again that pregnancy.

Off subject, I know…but my love for tomato soup has not waned and I’m always game to try a new variation.

A few notes about variation:

-Use whatever stock you’d like:  vegetable to keep it vegetarian, chicken is delicious, and beef definitely adds richness

-feel free to use a cheese or meat tortellini.  You could even use a short non-filled pasta, such as ditalini

-kale, spinach, chard-any of these would work

-I highly recommend cooking your own beans.  You can buy them from bulk bins, cook a large batch, and freeze them.  You can find everything you need to know about cooking your own beans here  or here  (you can even cook them in a slow cooker or the oven!)

White Bean Spinach Soup with Tortellini


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 12 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (see note above)
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 12 ounces cheese tortellini
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-regianno cheese

Heat a large pot over medium-low heat and add olive oil and butter. Add onion, stir to coat, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, paprika, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the fresh spinach, stirring continuously until it wilts. Add the crushed tomatoes, beans, and stock. Increase heat and bring soup to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes Add the tortlellini and cook according to package directions (about 5 minutes or so). Stir in the grated cheese before serving.

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