Kale and Italian Sausage Penne with Lemon Cream Sauce

This pasta dish is a delightful melange of earthy flavors.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, (no casing)
1 bunch kale, washed, stemmed and roughly chopped
2 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Juice and zest of 1 lemon (Meyer lemons work well, too)
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. dried whole wheat penne pasta
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, for garnish

METHOD:

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, red onion and red chile flakes. Sauté stirring occasionally, until garlic is fragrant. Add sausage and cook using a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces.

When sausage is cooked and browned, add kale, oregano, season with salt and pepper, and cook until kale is wilted, about 3 minutes.

Add half and half and bring to almost to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by a third, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, lemon juice and zest and nutmeg. Check seasonings. Set aside and keep warm.

Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add whole wheat penne and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Add both pasta and water to reserved sauce and cook about 5 minutes more. Serve garnished with chopped parsley.

SOURCE: Recipe adapted from recipe in Saveur.

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