Turkey Sausage and Kale Pasta

Turkey Sausage and Kale PastaHey guys!  Again please forgive my absence!  A lot has happened in the last few weeks!  I signed up for a freaking FULL marathon.  Like a crazy person.  I’m still trying to watch what I eat and come up with healthier things to eat.  This is certainly a good one and I’ll be using it again.  My favorite part is that it’s a one-pan wonder (except for the pot you have to use for cooking the pasta…but the rest can all be done in a single frying pan).  Read on for the Verdict to see more about how much I liked this recipe, and how my co-workers liked it as well!

The Elements:Turkey Sausage and Kale Pasta
1 box whole wheat pasta shells (or other kind of pasta that holds sauce well, so not noodles, but things like rigatoni, shells, penne, etc.)
Approximately 2 tsps of Olive Oil
1 package (5 links) of turkey sausage, Hot Italian
 (if you don’t like ithot, go for the mild Italian…you can find these at any grocery store)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bunch kale–remove stems, roll up two to three pieces, then slice as thinly as you like–for this dish I say thinner is better
1 large pinch of red pepper flakes 
Salt & pepper to taste
1 can of San Marzano Crushed Tomatoes
 (you could also use another form, with more solid tomatoes, but as I’ve mentioned before, Matt doesn’t eat anything with tomatoes).  I highly recommend San Marzano tomatoes.  Their flavor is incredible and they really top any other canned tomatoes I’ve ever had.  These are available at both Harris Teeter and Fresh Market, as well as Williams-Sonoma.  They usually look like the can below, just the top and bottom color is different based on what kind they are (strained, diced, etc.).

Procedure:
In a large fry pan over medium heat, drizzle a little olive oil in the pan, so it isn’t dry.
Sear the turkey sausage for a few minutes on each side, then remove, and slice into approximately 1-inch slices (let’s be real, I did not measure them, just use your best judgment).
Put the sausage pieces back into the same pan and then add in the onion.
Meanwhile, put water on to boil, and then cook the pasta according to instructions.
Cook this until the sausage and onions are caramelized and the sausage is cooked all the way through… I didn’t really time this part, sorry, you again need to use your judgment but I would say it took between 15-20 minutes.
Stir occasionally to ensure that the onions don’t burn.Turkey Sausage and Kale Pasta

Once you are fairly confident that the sausage is mostly cooked, add the kale on top and let it wilt a bit.Turkey Sausage and Kale PastaAfter the kale has wilted a bit, use tongs to stir it with the sausage and onion.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and add in the red pepper flakes (not toooo much, because remember we used the Hot Italian sausage!) Mix it all up real nice! Turkey Sausage and Kale Pasta

Then add in the crushed tomatoes.  Mix that as well.  Spoon it over your cooked pasta and enjoy a healthy home-cooked meal!
Turkey Sausage and Kale PastaThe Verdict:
So easy, and very delicious!  Because the sausage is turkey sausage and the pasta is whole wheat, this is a fairly healthy pasta dish.  Not using a jarred sauce, and simply using canned tomatoes and then adding your own flavors eliminates a lot of additives and imparts a more natural flavor.  The turkey sausage is high in protein but low in calories and carbs.  The kale is an awesome leafy green that is hearty enough to allow you to have a smaller portion for dinner.  The whole wheat pasta provides whole grains and fiber.  All in all, very healthy and delicious.  I even brought the rest of it to work today (because I had a LOT left over) and everyone loved it…even my friend who didn’t think she liked whole wheat pasta!  Highly recommend!

Weigh in as the Jury

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