Winter is the season of kale. I know it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet, but please consider the evidence.
- The temp has dipped below freezing, if you account for wind chill.
- The Christmas decorations are up on Manhattan Avenue as of yesterday.
- I heard Burl Ives wishing all of Duane Reade a “holly jolly Christmas” while buying an emergency pack of Vida paper towels.
I rest my case. If you disagree, fine. Kale is also in season in the fall. 🤓
On a cold day, this recipe is exactly what the doctor ordered. I especially love this recipe on a weeknight, because it is fast and easy. It is a twist on the classic orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe. I love the original, but usually find myself subbing kale for broccoli rabe. Kale is widely available, generally cheaper than broccoli rabe, and in season throughout fall and winter. Kale also shares the bitterness that broccoli rabe brings to the dish, so it is a perfect sub. Just remember to tear the leafs in small pieces. Doing so will ensure that the kale is evenly distributed throughout the dish instead of sticking together in a big kale clump.
NOTE: This recipe feeds about 2. Double it for leftovers or a bigger crew. This dish makes terrific leftovers.
Orecchiette with Sausage and Kale
1 lb. spicy Italian sausage
1/2 of a 1 lb. box of orecchiette
1 bunch kale, torn into 1-2 inch pieces
3 large cloves of garlic
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
In a large pot, boil water with 2 tbs salt.
In a large skillet or wok, brown sausage. Remove cooked sausage from pan, reserving 1 tbs rendered fat.
Your pot of water should be boiling by now. Dump the orecchiette into the water and set a timer to cook the orecchiette al dente.
In the skillet, cook the kale on medium high heat until it begins to wilt. Add lemon juice and garlic. Cook until kale is bright green and soft.
Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Do not rinse the pasta. Add pasta, reserved cooking liquid, parmesan cheese and sausage to the skillet. Cook on medium high, stirring constantly, until liquid is reduced to a creamy sauce. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest.