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Sausage and Cavolo Nero Pasta

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta” - Federico Fellini

I wish I came up with a quote like that. Life truly is magical and adding pasta just makes it that much more special. This Kale and sausage pasta is delicious and simple to make. Really try and find cavolo nero, also known as Tuscan kale. It’s different from regular kale, which you can definitely use if you can’t find the Tuscan variety. The flavour profile is much earthier and has a nutty sweetness to it. I like how it pairs perfectly with the sausage, and make sure to get that sausage nice and crispy!


Recipe by Mark Calaminici | Food Loves Company

Serves 4


3-4 sweet sausages (with fennel preferred) casings removed and crumbled

5 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or finely chopped

2-3 Calabrian chilis, seeds removed and finely chopped

1 bunch Tuscan kale (cavolo nero) removed from stems and finely chopped

Salt, to taste

Freshly cracked pepper, to taste

80g Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated


1. In a pan on medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil and sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally. You can break up the sausage up into pieces with a wooden spoon. I like to brown up the sausage as they start to get crispy, so let the sausage sit a bit undisturbed to get a bit crispy and colour. You will see the pan may have some fond developing and that will get released when we add the kale and pasta water. Once sausage is cooked remove and set aside.

2. In the same pan, bring the heat down to low-medium. Add 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, the garlic and chilis.

3. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. Reserve pasta water.

4. Add the kale to the pan with the garlic and chilli. Season with salt, freshly cracked pepper and add a ladle of pasta water to help cook down the kale and to help release the fond. Add the sausage back in the pan as well.

5. Remove the pasta a couple minutes before al dente to finish cooking it in the pan. Add the pasta to the pan and toss to incorporate all the ingredients, adding more pasta water if needed. Once pasta is cooked, remove pan from heat or turn off heat and add Parmigiano-Reggiano a handful at a time, mixing and tossing. Plate and you can garnish with freshly cracked pepper, dried chilli flakes or Parmigiano-Reggiano. Enjoy!


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