Pasta with Sausage, Kale, and Tomatoes

I love learning new cooking techniques from my favorite chefs.

Earlier this year, I attended a fun “Tomato Vine Dining Tour” sponsored by Muir Glen at one of my favorite restaurants, Garden at the Cellar. Will Gilson, who (until recently) was the head chef there, shared with us how he uses canned tomatoes in the winter time to carry him through when doesn’t have fresh produce.

Better yet, he shared one of his pasta recipes with us that involves sausage, kale, and (canned) tomatoes.

What I love best about this recipe is his use of egg yolks and lemon zest in the sauce. Deceptively simple, these hidden ingredients elevate an otherwise simple olive-oil sauce to new and more complex levels of depth and flavor.

I wish I had orecchiette on hand (it would have made for such better photos). Nevertheless, spaghetti still works reasonably well (though it doesn’t catch as much sauce as a pasta with more nooks and crannies would).

This recipe is reasonably flexible, and I don’t see a problem with switching out kale for another vegetable or changing pasta shapes (although some pasta shapes do work better than others). I do think it’s important to keep most of the other ingredients, including the aromatics (onions/garlic), the Parmesan cheese, egg yolks, and lemon zest.

Seeing as fresh, locally grown tomatoes are not yet available in Boston yet, it’s not that much of a sin to use organic canned tomatoes, right?


Orecchiette with braised kale, fire-roasted tomatoes and grilled Italian sausage
Source: Will Gilson on behalf of Muir Glen

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Servings: 6

3 Italian sausages (about 3/4 pound)
1 pound uncooked orecchiette (tiny disk) pasta
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
Grated peel of 1 medium lemon (2-3 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup finely diced onion
2 bunches kale, washed, rough chopped (about 6 cups)
2 cans (14.5 ounces) fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In nonstick skillet, cover and cook sausages over medium heat about 15 minutes or until no longer pink in center. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2-inch slices.

Cook and drain pasta reserving 1/2 cup of hot pasta water. In 1 1/2-quart saucepan, use wire whisk to vigorously stir eggs, egg yolks, lemon peel, salt and pepper, then slowly beat reserved hot pasta water into egg mixture. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes until sauce is creamy and thickened.

In nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook garlic 1-2 minutes or until garlic becomes toasted. Add onion, kale and tomatoes; cover. Cook 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until kale is wilted. Remove from heat. Stir sausage, pasta, kale mixture, Parmesan cheese and sauce into large bowl.

Disclaimer: The Muir Glen canned tomatoes in this post were provided by Muir Glen

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  1. LNnop says

    This is a GREAT meal! I am actually going to make it for dinner tonight. In the past, we used penne pasta, because that’s what we had in the kitchen. Tonight, we’ll use the actual pasta in the recipe. One suggestion, this is a good meal to have two chefs for. One who makes the sauce and the other who does the rest. I highly recommend this meal and am sure you will enjoy!

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