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.
- 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.