Spaghetti w/ Sausage & Kale, For Two

If you haven’t made plans for Valentine’s Day yet, take a breather.

Because this spaghetti w/sausage & kale is exactly the romantic meal you need.

Requiring just 8 ingredients + 30 minutes, it’s an effortlessly cozy dish that’s guaranteed to send hearts aflutter.

What’s great about this recipe is that it’s simultaneously filling, airy, and perfect. The taste is light and fresh, the pasta + sausage are hearty, and the kale lends a welcome hint of earthiness. All together it’s a sumptuous, satisfying dish that keeps you satiated without stealing your sexy. And if that isn’t important on Valentine’s Day, what is?

Classic flavors + easy preparation are the crux of this meal, so there’s absolutely nothing to be intimidated by. You start by squeezing sweet Italian sausage from its casing, then cooking in an un-greased skillet over a medium-low flame. The sausage will finish in about 20 minutes, during which you can boil the pasta water, whisk the dressing, AND finish your make-up, because this is a date. Just remember to apply your bronzer last, because nothing melts your face quite like pasta steam. Trust me.

Once the sausage is browned remove it from the skillet, then immediately add in the kale. Sautéing the kale in the sausage fat — not to mention olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice! — is a straight-up flavor-bomb of deliciousness, so do not clean your skillet! This marriage of flavors is what makes the dish. The kale will begin to wilt in just a few minutes, and from there add the sausage back to the pan and keep everything on low. When the spaghetti’s done it will be added to the skillet, tossed in dressing, and voilà!

Valentine’s dinner is served.

The first forkful you inhale will be a doozy of cozy, comforting, herbaceous flavor, so get prepared for some applause. The dressing is a simple mix of flavors we’re already using — olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic! — so it’s an enhancer without adding to your grocery list. The sausage’s savory aroma is wonderfully balanced by the lemon’s tang + acidity, and a healthy sprinkling of red pepper flakes lends a finishing punch of heat. Plus there’s a generous smattering of cheese, as I’m sure you fully expected. I used grated pecorino here, but parmesan or asiago would both be great!

So long as it’s sharp, you’re good.

A few last notes:

If you like your pasta a bit “saucier”, reserve some pasta water and/or add a splash of white wine to the skillet in step 4 before plating.

A crisp Albariño pairs fantastically with this!!!

Don’t forget a side of toasted baguette. xo

Spaghetti w/ Sausage & Kale

Ingredients:

  • PASTA:
  • 1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • 1 1/2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsps crushed or minced garlic
  • 5 oz kale lettuce, torn + stems removed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • a pinch of salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated sharp cheese (parmesan or pecorino are great)
  • a few pinches of red pepper flakes
  • DRESSING:
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp crushed or minced garlic

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over a medium-low flame until warm, about 3 minutes. When ready, snip your sausage casings on either end, then squeeze out the meat directly into the skillet, starting from the center of each casing and squeezing outwards. Cook for 20 minutes until no pink parts remain, stirring as needed.
  2. In a small mixing bowl combine all dressing ingredients, whisking until well mixed.
  3. When ready, transfer the cooked sausage to a clean plate. Next, in the same skillet (don’t clean it!) add the EVOO and garlic and stir over a medium flame until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the kale, lemon juice, and salt & pepper, then saute until the kale is wilted, about 10 minutes. Return the sausage to the pan and stir to combine, then keep warm over a low flame until needed.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the spaghetti according to package instructions — I prefer mine well done, but al dente is fine. Drain the spaghetti, then immediately add to the skillet. Pour the dressing over everything, then use kitchen tongs to combine all ingredients — you can add additional seasoning here, if needed. Once combined immediately plate and serve, topping with grated cheese and red pepper flakes when plating.
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