I made this as a quick weeknight dinner because I was craving a creamy carb-o-licious pasta dish. Man, did this deliver! AND! It made 8 servings so I got to have it all week for lunch. Win-win right there.
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
1 pound pork or turkey sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
2½ cups milk⅓ cup grated Parmesan
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound dried whole wheat penne pasta
3 tbsp. finely chopped parsley, for garnish
Heat a stock pot of water to a boil, add pasta, cook, drain and keep warm during the below. You should have enough breaks to avoid spillover. RESERVE 1/4 CUP OF THE PASTA WATER. (I thought this was silly and I was wrong. ’tis important.)
Heat olive oil in a 6 qt pan over medium high heat and add garlic, onion and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Add sausage and use a wooden spoon to break up into bite sized pieces as it cooks. Cook until browned, 15 to 18 minutes. Add kale and season with salt and pepper. Cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
Add milk and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by about a third, about 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, lemon zest, juice, and 1/4 cup pasta water. Add in drained pasta and cook an additional 5 minutes, until sauce is creamy. Serve with parsley.