Orecchiette with Veggie Sausage and Kale

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I’m still in the end of summer denial, my body is so confused stage. I’m craving peaches, corn, and tomatoes, but at the same time, whenever it’s time to make dinner, I find myself reaching for the pasta shelf more often. Hearty comfort foods are making their way into the dinner rotation, and I’m not sure that I’m mad about it.

Last night we had a thunder and lightening storm in Seattle, which brought lots of rain. The weather has cooled a great deal since, and the skies are transition to that light shade of gray. I finished up my fall plantings, trimmed the bushes, and brought in the patio cushions. I think I am slowing coming around to the idea that it will soon be autumn.

This year I am going to take a hard pass at Autumnal decor. Sebastian is very into Halloween, so I think I’m going to have to spend all of my decorating creativity on spooky pumpkins and skeletons. He has also informed me that he wants to be a transformer for Halloween, one that goes from robot to car. So he actually wants me to make him a transforming costuming. This is my worst nightmare.

In the meantime, Can we talk about this pasta recipe? I love a good hearty pasta. One that, as my grandma would say ‘sticks to your bones’. A one-pot, 30 minute time commitment, minimal fuss pasta that everyone will like. It’s flavorful, savory, healthy, and well balanced. I like to use veggie meat crumbles to add that extra bit of protein. Sneak in some veggies like tomatoes and kale. And of course, all pasta needs to be topped with a generous portion of Parmesan cheese. Quick, easy, and tasty. A perfect weeknight meal the whole family will love.

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Orecchiette with Veggie Sausage and Kale

serves 4

  • prep time - 10 minutes

  • cooking time - 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups of dry orecchiette pasta

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 cloves of garlic, mined

  • 10 oz ground round (I like Morning Star Farms)

  • 14.5 oz (1 small can) diced tomatoes

  • 1 tsp chili peppers

  • 1 tbsp capers

  • 2 cups of finely chopped kale

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot, add 8 cups of water and 1 1/2 tbsp of salt. Bring to a boil.

  2. In a large frying pan set to low heat, add the olive oil.

  3. Once the oil is warm, add the garlic and saute for a minute, just enough to release the flavors, but not enough to brown the garlic.

  4. Add the veggie meat crumbles and saute until lightly browned.

  5. At this point, the water should be boiling. Add the dry pasta and cook until al dente.

  6. Add the diced tomatoes, chili peppers and capers to the veggie meat crumbles. Bring to a low simmer.

  7. Add the cooked pasta and the kale to the veggie meat sauce. Reserve one cup of pasta water to the side. Simmer the sauce until the kale is bright green and tender, roughly 2 minutes. Continue to add the pasta water, a 1/4 cup at a time, as it simmers, until the kale is cooked and you have a desired consistency and texture. Add the Parmesan cheese and combine.

  8. Serve warm.