This is a recipe adapted from a dish I once had at a post-field hockey game team tailgate. My teammates mother brought one of those big throw-away tins full of this pasta and there was nothing but a little bit of olive oil left in the container when all was said and done. It was so fantastic I decided to recreate it here with my own ingredients.
The first step is to get the water for the pasta boiling and the sausage browning. I chose sweet Italian sausage. I cut off the ends and squeezed the sausage from the casing to make it easier to break up with my wooden spoon. You want to fully cook the sausage, then scoop it out onto a paper towel to drain the excess fat.
Once the water is boiling, drop in the pasta. You can use shells or penne or really anything, but the original version had angel hair so I went that route. While the pasta is cooking, roughly chop the kale and add (along with a little more olive oil) to the little bit of sausagey-fatty-goodness left in your saute pan. Be sure to drain off the excess water after washing it or you could get a nasty splatter (learned that one the hard way). As the kale begins to wilt, add salt, pepper, and garlic.
While that is cooking, shred the mozzarella by hand into pieces about the size of pennies and set aside.
Once everything is cooked and the pasta is drained, return the pasta to the pot and toss in about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Then heap in the rest of the ingredients - the kale straight from the pan, the sausage, and the mozzarella. Toss all together to re-warm the sausage and slightly melt the mozzarella. Add extra salt/pepper to taste and extra olive oil if it looks a bit dry. Voila!
The great thing about this recipe is that it is by nature super customizable. The original version had tomatoes and zucchini, you can swap out the sweet Italian sausage for hot sausage, the kale for broccoli rabe or spinach or basil. However you decide to make it, enjoy!
Mozzarella, Kale, Sweet Italian Sausage Pasta
From the pantry:
1/4 box Angel hair pasta (about 2 serving sizes worth)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced.
1/4 c. + 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
From the fridge:
1 small block fresh mozzarella, shredded
4 links sweet Italian sausage (raw)
1/2 medium head Kale, roughly chopped
1. Boil water for pasta
2. Brown sausage until fully cooked, scoop from pan with slotted spoon onto plate lined with paper towel to drain excess fat. Reserve fat in pan.
3. Add kale (washed and blotted dry) plus 1 tbsp olive oil to sausage drippings in pan. Saute/shallow fry until kale is wilted and slightly crispy, about 4 minutes. Add minced garlic, salt, pepper and cook for an additional minute.
4. Shred mozzarella, set aside.
5. Drain pasta, return to pan. Add olive oil, kale, sausage, mozzarella. Toss to combine. The mozzarella will melt slightly.