Your new favorite Autumn/Winter pasta dish is here! Serves 4 to 6, but you may want to just serve a couple people and have plenty for leftovers…
Pasta with Spicy Sausage, Ricotta, Golden Raisins, and Pine Nuts
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
2 bunches cavolo nero (also known as black, dinosaur, Lacinato, or Tuscan kale)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small (2 cups)
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (2 tablespoons)
2 (6-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs, bruised with your fingers
½ teaspoon ground fennel seed
½ pound fresh spicy Italian sausage (pork or turkey), removed from casing, approximately 2 to 3 links
½ cup golden raisins
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained, preferably fire-roasted, if possible
1¼ cup vegetable or chicken stock
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 ounces gemelli or penne pasta
2 cups ricotta salata, drained and crumbled, or grated Pecorino Romano, not pre-grated
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving
⅓ cup toasted pine nuts, for serving
- Strip the tender leaves from the tough stems of the kale; discard the stems. Rinse the leaves, then chop finely.
- Combine 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the onions in a small pot over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic, rosemary, and ground fennel, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
- Add the sausage to the pot. Cook for approximately 7 to 8 minutes until the sausage has browned, breaking up the sausage into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks.
- Add the chopped kale, golden raisins, undrained diced tomatoes, and stock to the sausage mixture and stir to combine.
- Turn the heat to high to bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low to continue simmering and cover with a lid. Continue simmering until the kale is soft, and less than a third of the liquid remains, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the rosemary sprigs, stir in the lemon juice and vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”).
- Drain the pasta without rinsing, then immediately return it to the pot. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pasta and stir to coat.
- Add the pasta to the warm sausage-kale mixture, gently stir together and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve in shallow pasta bowls, topped with the ricotta salata or Pecorino Romano. If using ricotta salata, shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano over each serving with a vegetable peeler. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and the toasted pine nuts.