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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pasta Mezzogiorno: Spicy Sausage & Kayle Penne Pasta

Pasta Mezzogiorno: Penne pasta with spicy Italian sausage and Kayle. This one dish meal is so quick to prepare and is literally done by time the pasta is cooked.
We go to our favorite kid friendly Italian Ristorante "Salvatore Scallopini". The server recommended this dish for me and had them make it the healthy way with whole wheat pasta. I questioned the "Kayle" ingredient. I have used cases and cases of Kayle in my restaurant to decorate catering trays and as a garnish. Both the purple and the green.

I have to admit I never tried it, never ate it not once, never had the desire to, I thought it would just taste bad! Yuck!

Well the server proved me wrong. He said "trust me". And I did! And I loved it! So I have been making my version of the dish ever since. At least once a week for my family and it's my favorite new dish to share with friends at get togethers. Now Kayle is a staple in our produce drawer.

  • Karen's Red Pepper Olive Oil
  • 1 3.25 oz Penne Pasta (1/2 whole wheat & 1/2 regular)
  • 1 bunch Kayle (green or purple is fine to)
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Shallot or one small onion or 4 green onions (what ever you have)
  • 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Fresh Basil
  • 1 lb fresh ground Italian Sausage (mild or hot)
  • 1/2 Cup banana peppers (mild or hot)
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper

Prepare your ingredients:

Wash and strip the Kayle from the stem. Hold the fat end of the Kayle with one hand, with the other hand grab the leaves and pull up away from the fat part of the stem until it breaks off. You should only have the hard fat part of the stem in your hand.

Medium chop the Kayle. Fine chop the garlic or use your garlic press. Fine chop your onion. Medium chop the basil.

Make sure everything is ready on your cutting board.

Start your pasta per instructions on the box. Remember to salt your water. Cover the pot to get the water boiling quicker.

Use a 5.5 Quart/5.2 L Deep Saute pan. cover the bottom with your Red Pepper Olive Oil or regular olive oil if you don't have the Pepper Oil.

Karen's Red Pepper Olive Oil recipe: http://karenbcookingmadeeasy.blogspot.com/2009/03/crushed-red-pepper-flavored-olive-oil.html

Brown the Italian sausage in the oil. Add Salt and Pepper to season the meat. If you like it hot add/or are using plain olive oil add some Red Pepper Flakes a little bit at a time.

When the sausage is browned add the shallot and pine nuts saute until tender, the pine nuts should be slightly toasted.

Add seafood option here (see below).

Add the garlic and banana peppers saute only for a minute or two.

Add the Kayle stir to coat and cook for about five minutes stirring occasionally, Kayle should still have a slight crunch but tender.

With a pasta strainer add the pasta directly from the pasta water toss all together. Season with Salt and Pepper, and 1/4 Cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (more if you like...I do!)

Transfer to large pasta bowl. Sprinkle fresh chopped basil over the top, drizzle some more Red Pepper Olive Oil over the top and fresh grated Parmesan cheese!

Seafood option: You can add shrimp or scallops to this dish also. Add the cleaned, butterflied shrimp to pan (with oil and meat) and cook until they just turn pink, turn over and cook just until they turn pink. The shrimp will continue to cook while adding the remaining ingredients to do not over cook.

Lightly saute the scallops do not over cook.

Once you have made this dish the first time, the second time is a breeze! You just have to get your ingredients ready.

If you are cooking for just two, cut the recipe in half. Or make the entire recipe...It's even better the second day! This recipe will feed 6 to 8 with a nice side salad and bread.

Goes well with both White and Red Wine. I like a Chardonnay or a Meritage.


1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favourite dishes. My husband loves it. I have substituted the Kale with Rapini or Baby Spinach.



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