Creamy Sausage, Kale and Mushroom Pasta


As snow started coming down this week, turning my town into a real-life snow-globe with cancelled school, the entire house a drop-zone for wet socks and damp gloves, and the inevitable sibling squabbles over shared sleds and badly aimed snowballs; I knew I was going to need a few ‘snow day’ essentials.

In no particular order my essentials include strong coffee, cart loads of hot chocolate mix and canned whipped cream (for the kids of course), a good book, dark chocolate, and the inevitable ‘down time’ i.e. when the kids are so exhausted from playing outside for hours, you can justify a movie or video games.

And last but certainly not least a comforting, hearty meal that feeds big appetites for kids who have played hard all day in the snow. This style of dinner is one of my absolute favorite ways to cook because I can hide veggies and good-for-you ingredients in a pot of cheesy pasta. Also, in the time it takes to boil a pot of pasta, dinner is basically done. A few minutes to saute veggies and cook the sausage with a quick assembly and dinner is ready. Full of flavor, decadent and hearty, this is the wintery dinner that needs to be added to your weeknight rotation.

Creamy Sausage, Kale and Mushroom Pasta

·         1 lb. farfalle pasta

·         1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

·         1 lb. pork Italian sausage

·         5 ounces lacinato kale, washed and shredded

·         5 ounces baby spinach

·         8 ounces sliced button mushrooms

·         1 small yellow onion, diced

·         2 cloves garlic, diced

·         ¼ cup-1/3 cup organic chicken broth

·         6 ounces goat cheese

·         1 teaspoon kosher salt

·         ½ teaspoon black pepper

·         2 shakes red pepper flakes

·         zest of 1 lemon

In a large pot, boil pasta in heavily salted water until al dente. The pasta should have a slight bite to it because it will continue to cook slightly when all the ingredients are combined. Drain pasta and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Cook pork sausage, using a wooden spoon to break the meat into small pieces until cooked through. Remove meat from the pan and let drain on a paper-towel lined plate.

Using the same pan, begin cooking the diced onion, scraping up any little bits from the pan. Allow the onion to cook for 2-3 minutes before adding in the kale and mushrooms. Stir in the garlic and two tablespoons chicken stock. Continue to cook the vegetables, stirring constantly. Salt and pepper liberally.

When the kale is dark green and wilted and the mushrooms are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes, stir in the spinach and cook for one more minute. Add the sausage back to the pan, stir well and turn off the heat.

Combine the pasta and sausage and vegetable mixture in one big pot. Add the goat cheese and another 2 to 3 tablespoons chicken stock to help thin the sauce and combine the ingredients. Stir well until the goat cheese is melted and fully coats all the ingredients. If necessary, add another splash of chicken stock. Add a few shakes of red pepper flakes, a sprinkle of kosher salt and the zest of a lemon. Serve immediately. Serves eight.

*This meal is incredibly versatile so feel free to swap ingredients as you see fit. Turkey or chicken sausage work great in place of pork. You don’t have to use both kale and spinach, one or the other works great too or you could swap for arugula or broccoli. And finally, we don’t do a ton of cow’s dairy at our house so I often use goat cheese in recipes but mascarpone, parmesan or fresh mozzarella would be tasty too.