This recipe has been a regular favourite in our house for the last six years. Wholesome and nourishing thanks to the mountain of kale it uses, and extremely budget-friendly (also absurdly tasty, but hope that goes without saying by now).
The trick here is in preparing your kale. Once it is cleaned and shredded, this will be ready as quickly as you can boil pasta. If you know you’re going to be in a hurry when it comes to dinner time, you can prepare the kale up to 24 hours in advance, and keep it in the fridge.
If you’re in Cork, O’Flynn’s Sausages make a hot Italian sausage that is seriously delicious, and is what I use here. That said, I have used all kinds of sausages, they’ll all work great. If you are using a plain breakfast sausage add some extra fennel seeds and chilli flakes, it will make a world of difference.
This serves approximately four people (or the two of us for dinner, and lunch the next day).
- 200g pasta (chunky shapes are good here, fusilli, farfalle, etc.)
- Olive oil, to fry and for finishing
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 2-3 hot Italian sausages, skins removed
- Big pinch of fennel seeds
- Big pinch of chilli flakes
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 400g tin of chickpeas, drained (optional)
- 200g kale, washed, large stalks removed, and finely shredded
- Lemon juice, to taste
- Parmigiano or pecorino cheese, grated, to serve (optional)
Cook the pasta either to packet instructions, or to your existing knowledge of how to boil pasta.
While it is cooking, heat some olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat (a wok can be useful here, you are going to need to fit all the kale in this pan). Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds to a minute. Add the sausage meat, fennel seeds, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Fry till the sausage is cooked through, breaking it into small chunks with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Stir through the chickpeas, if using, and cook for about a minute until heated through. Add the kale and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain the pasta when it’s ready, and add to the sausage and kale mixture, along with a squeeze of lemon and a splash of olive oil. Mix well and taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if desired.
Serve with the grated cheese, if liked.