We haven't had many nice cold days here in Alexandria, VA this winter. I love cold weather, in part because I love making cold-weather dishes like this Cheesy Pasta with Sausage and Sage. It seems like a good idea to share it now before the weather warms up for Spring. The pasta is coated with a velvety blanket of cheesy goodness. Who doesn't love cheese?! The sausage is sliced and then browned to give it nice crispy edges and to flavor the dish. Add some kale at the end, to give the dish some color and texture and you've got yourself a delicious pasta!
Leftovers make great lunches and snacks!
We like to keep things simple here at Sunny Side Up. This recipe allows you to do exactly that! It has just 8 ingredients and can be made in about 30 minutes (really)! Cheesy Pasta with Sausage, Sage, and Kale is a favorite in my house. Admittedly, there are 2 of the 4 of us who eat around the kale. A dish that everyone likes is definitely a win! Plus, it reheats beautifully, so the leftovers work well packed in a thermos for lunch the next day or reheated for a snack. We're definitely big fans of using leftovers for lunches (and snacks).
Making the pasta and a few variations
One of the nice things about this dish is its versatility.
- Try a different kind of sausage. Do you prefer spicy sausage or sweet sausage? (I haven't made it with spicy sausage because I'm a bit of a spice wimp).
- Deglaze the pan with white wine - After removing the sausage from the pan, deglaze the pan with ½ cup of white wine and reduce by ½. Then add the 1 ½ cups chicken stock. Doing this will give the dish some brightness and depth of flavor.
- Use rosemary instead of sage.
- Add spinach, arugula, or other greens instead of kale.
- Try a different kind of cheese that melts well. (I've only made this with Fontina or Fontal cheese).
- Add white beans to make the dish even heartier.
I typically serve this with my Favorite Everyday Salad and a baguette (if I have one). Let us know if you make this! We love to hear from our readers!
Pasta with Sweet Sausage, Sage, Kale and Fontal Cheese
- 1 box pasta cooked aldente
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 package mild Italian sausages about 6 sausages, sliced in half lengthwise and then sliced crosswise
- ½ small onion peeled and diced (about ½ cup diced onion)
- 2 gloves of garlic peeled and chopped
- 1 generous Tablespoon fresh sage leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- 1-2 cups of kale removed from stems and then torn and rinsed
- 2 cups about 8 ounces Fontal cheese (or other mild cheese that melts easily).
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large pot of well salted water over high heat for the pasta.
- While the water is coming to a boil, begin making the sauce. Slice each sausage lengthwise. Then place the slices cut side down and slice the lengthwise pieces. The slices will look like half moons.
- Over medium high heat, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold the pasta and sauce. Add the sliced sausage and brown stirring occasionally. Once the sausage is browned, turn off the heat and put the sausage in a bowl and set aside.
- Return the pan to the stove and turn the heat to medium. Add the diced onion and sauté for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and sauté for a few more minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt.
- Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Add 1 ½ cups chicken stock to the pan and bring to a simmer. Allow the stock to simmer for about 5 minutes or has reduced by half.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook until aldente. (I cook the pasta just a few minutes less than the package directions). When the pasta is cooked drain it and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Rinse and tear the kale. Add it to the sauté pan along with the browned sausage you set aside earlier. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes or until the kale turns bright green.
- Turn off the heat under the sautè pan. Add the cooked pasta and the grated cheese and stir. Scrape the bottom of the pan periodically to catch any cheese that might stick to the bottom.
- Add some of the reserved pasta water and stir again. Add a few turns of freshly ground pepper. Taste and adjust add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Optional - Serve with some additional grated cheese.