Orecchiette with Spicy Sausage & Kale

Whole Wheat Orecchiette, spicy sausage, and kale

Oh my. I’ve certainly come a long way. Remember how back in January I mentioned I hardly ever cook pasta and posted my first pasta recipe on the blog? Since then pasta of all kinds seems to have become a staple around here and is on the menu about every week or two. Well, now I’ve got another keeper. I’m not sure what changed exactly. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve found I can eat just enough without stuffing myself? Or maybe it’s because pasta recipes tend to come together quite quickly, which is always perfect on a weeknight. Whatever the reason, there are two very happy eaters in this household.

I’m especially excited to share this recipe. Orecchiette may be my favorite pasta shape–it captures just the right amount of sauce and other components so perfectly in every bite. I was thrilled when I found whole wheat orecchiette at Whole Foods (!!!) Of course you already know my love for kale knows no bounds and any time you add sun-dried tomatoes to something you know it’s going to be good.

The only ingredients you need!

The only ingredients you need!

After a bit of research, I combined a few different recipes to get this outcome. One of the things that really made a difference was a tip I gathered from this recipe, where you drain the sun-dried tomatoes in a sieve over a bowl and use some of the remaining oil when cooking. Unless you cooked the meal you may not know it’s there, but the oil imparts a certain kick that you could only get from oil that’s been hanging out with sun-dried tomatoes for who knows how long.

I used spicy Italian turkey sausage, but you can use absolutely any kind you like or sub it out and add some beans instead. Serve with a nice glass of red wine, some freshly shaved parm and you’ve got yourself a swoon-worthy dinner. Enjoy!

Orecchiette with Spicy Sausage and Kale 

Serves 2 with leftovers


8 ounces whole wheat orecchiette

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 pound spicy Italian turkey sausage, casing removed

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

16 oz kale

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Salt & pepper

1/2 tsp crushed red chili pepper (optional)


Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1 cup cooking liquid.

Drain sun-dried tomatoes in a sieve over a bowl. Roughly chop sun-dried tomatoes.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan and cook until sausage is browned, about 10 minutes, using a spoon to crumble. Transfer sausage to a bowl. Add onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and 2 tsp of oil from sun-dried tomatoes to the pan. Sautee about 5 minutes until onion softens. Add kale and chicken broth. Cover and simmer until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in pasta, sausage, and reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with crushed red chili pepper.

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