Pasta with Sausage, Kale, and Walnut Gremolata

This was a recipe that had foods I wasn’t sure my family would like, all put together. The Fudgelet is sometimes funny about lemon, and he hasn’t had much in the way of nuts. Then K doesn’t enjoy kale. At all. But, I also want to make sure that the Fudgelet gets a variety of foods since even if K or I don’t like something, he might. I have tried cooking regular kale for K before, but never this type and I thought it might be better for him since part of his issue with kale is the curly texture. This is smoother and seemed closer to spinach.

What do you think they thought?

They actually liked it! K still wasn’t a fan of the kale, but he ate it. It wasn’t much kale so I think that helped. The Fudgelet was a huge fan of the walnut topping and asked for extra.

I was worried the pasta looked plain and sauceless, but somehow the pasta soaked up a ton of flavor without you seeing it on the pasta. It was creamy tasting without cream!

Directions for Pasta with Sausage, Kale, and Walnut Gremolata

Slightly adapted from Back Pocket Pasta

  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped walnuts, toasted until golden
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Flaky and/or Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound pasta (preferably in a tubular shape)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian ground sausage
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 large bunch Tuscan kale or other greens (I added some spinach, too), cut into 1/2-inch wide ribbons
  • Black pepper
  • Grated pecorino romano cheese for serving

Stir together the walnuts, lemon zest, parsley, and a pinch of flaky salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Cook the pasta. While you wait for the water to boil and the pasta to cook, start the sauce. Cook the sausage in a bit of oil until browned in a large skillet. Break up the pieces of sausage as it cooks.

When the sausage is cooked through, remove and set aside in a bowl. Over high heat, add the wine, scraping up any browned bits in the pan, then pour the mixture over the sausage.

 

If the pasta is almost done cooking, continue. Otherwise, wait until there is just a couple minutes left for the pasta to cook. When you drain the pasta, reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Over medium heat, heat some oil and cook the garlic until lightly golden. Add the kale/greens to the skillet in batches, cooking until it wilts.

Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water as it cooks. Add the sausage to the pan and stir together. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Now add the pasta, stirring in about 1/4 cup of the pasta water (more if necessary).

Serve with the walnut mixture and the pecorino cheese on top.

Directions for Pasta with Sausage, Kale, and Walnut Gremolata (without pictures)

Slightly adapted from Back Pocket Pasta

  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped walnuts, toasted until golden
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Flaky and/or Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound pasta (preferably in a tubular shape)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian ground sausage
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 large bunch Tuscan kale or other greens (I added some spinach, too), cut into 1/2-inch wide ribbons
  • Black pepper
  • Grated pecorino romano cheese for serving

Stir together the walnuts, lemon zest, parsley, and a pinch of flaky salt in a bowl. Set aside. Cook the pasta. While you wait for the water to boil and the pasta to cook, start the sauce. Cook the sausage in a bit of oil until browned in a large skillet. Break up the pieces of sausage as it cooks. When the sausage is cooked through, remove and set aside in a bowl. Over high heat, add the wine, scraping up any browned bits in the pan, then pour the mixture over the sausage.

If the pasta is almost done cooking, continue. Otherwise, wait until there is just a couple minutes left for the pasta to cook. When you drain the pasta, reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Over medium heat, heat some oil and cook the garlic until lightly golden. Add the kale/greens to the skillet in batches, cooking until it wilts. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water as it cooks. Add the sausage to the pan and stir together. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Now add the pasta, stirring in about 1/4 cup of the pasta water (more if necessary). Serve with the walnut mixture and the pecorino cheese on top.

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