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Orecchiette with Sausage, Kale, and Pine Nuts

  • Author: Kathy Betchel


A light pasta dish is filling and easy to throw together quickly. Use flavorful sausage, mild baby kale, pine nuts, and a high quality cheese.


  • 8 ounces sausage
  • 5 ounces kale
  • 12 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound dried orecchiette pasta
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (toasted)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano or grana padano cheese


  1. In a large sauté pan, cook the sausage over medium low heat until just done. Remove from heat and cut into small pieces.
  2. In the same sauté pan, increase the heat to medium and add the kale. Cook until tender, then add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 more minute. Add the cooked sausage and stir to combine. Season with the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Turn off heat.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt until the pasta water is salty like sea water. Cook the pasta until just al dente – you want the pasta to have some firmness, not mushy. Reserve a cup of the pasta water, then drain.
  4. Add the cooked orecchiette to the sautéed kale and sausage. Stir to combine, adding a bit of the reserved pasta water if you prefer it a bit looser in texture. Stir in the pine nuts and grated cheese, and season to taste with ground pepper. Serve immediately.
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Italian
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