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Orecchiette with Sausage, Kale, and Pine Nuts

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.
5 from 1 vote
Course Main
Cuisine Italian


  • 8 ounces sausage
  • 5 ounces kale
  • 1 - 2 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


  • In a large sauté pan, cook the sausage over medium low heat until just done. Remove from heat and cut into small pieces.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.