Pasta with Spicy Sausage, Ricotta, Golden Raisins, and Pine Nuts

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…

lyon-pasta-with-spicy-sausage-and-kale

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

  1. Strip the tender leaves from the tough stems of the kale; discard the stems. Rinse the leaves, then chop finely.
  1. 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.
  1. Add the garlic, rosemary, and ground fennel, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
  1. 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.
  1. Add the chopped kale, golden raisins, drained diced tomatoes, and stock to the sausage mixture and stir to combine.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt.
  1. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”).
  1. Drain the pasta without rinsing, then immediately return it to the pot. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pasta and stir to coat.
  1. Add the pasta to the warm sausage-kale mixture, gently stir together and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  1. 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.

Lentil Stew with Spicy Sausage and Kale

Cold day. Warm Soup. Enough said.

Lentil Stew with Spicy Sausage and Kale

Lentil Stew with Spicy Sausage and Kale

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

 

1 bunch curly kale

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced small (3 cups)

5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped roughly (2½ cups)

4 stalks celery, chopped roughly (2 cups)

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon yellow curry powder

½ pound fresh spicy Italian or fennel sausage (pork or turkey), removed from casing, approximately 2 to 3 links

1 (24-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained, preferably fire-roasted

3 small dried bay leaves

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1⅓ cups green (Puy) lentils, rinsed and picked over for small pebbles

8 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving

 

Strip the tender leaves from the tough stems of the kale; discard the stems. Rinse the leaves, then chop roughly. You should have approximately 6 packed cups of kale.

Add ¼ cup olive oil, the onions, carrots, and celery to a small pot set over medium-high heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the celery begins to soften.

Add the garlic, curry, and sausage. Cook, breaking up the sausage into small pieces with the back of a spoon, until the sausage is mostly cooked through, 5 minutes. At this point your kitchen should smell insanely good.

Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, lentils, kale and the stock. The stock should just barely cover the kale. Stir it all together.

Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, until the lentils are just tender. The consistency should be like a thick soup, so add a bit of water to thin it out if the lentils are not quite cooked at this point.

Once the lentils are tender, remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and vinegar. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve in soup bowls, and shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano on top with vegetable peeler. Grab a spoon and go crazy.

Note: If your sausage is on the spicy side, add a dollop of crème fraîche to take the edge off the heat.

Sesame Kale Chips

Highly addictive and easy to make. Not to mention a fraction of the price of those bags of kale chips you see in the store! Note: you should probably triple the recipe – they go fast.

Sesame Kale Chips

Sesame Kale Chips

1 bunch Lacinato (dinosaur) kale, rinsed, stems removed and torn into 2-inch pieces

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

 

Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Toss kale with the oils, sesame seeds and salt in a medium bowl.

Place kale on parchment lined sheet trays and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until crispy.

Very Green Juice

It’s national kale day, so this recipe seems like a great way to celebrate! Enjoy!

Very Green Juice

Very Green Juice

Yield: 2 cups

 

8 curly kale leaves, stems included

½ hothouse cucumber, peeled

1/3 cup packed cilantro, leaves and stems

4 celery stalks

2 Fuji apples

1 lime, peeled

 

Process all ingredients through a juicer and enjoy your green juice.

Week of recipes in review: asparagus, chocolate, cherries and strawberries

Just in case you missed last week’s recipes and/or are trying to plan your weekend menu and shopping list, don’t forget about these goodies which I posted on my blog last week.

 

Recipes in Review June 16 Week

Strawberry Kale Salad (top left)

Vanilla Cherry Clafoutis (top right)

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus, Lemon and Ricotta (bottom right)

 

Strawberry Kale Salad

In California, we are spoiled. Not only do we have kale year round, but we have strawberries as well. So, it seems only natural to pair the two: beautiful green, slightly bitter kale with bright sweet vibrant strawberries. So, here’s my take on it. One caveat: how you cut your kale will greatly affect the flavor of this dish. Some people massage their kale with a little olive oil and salt to relax the tough leaves and remove some of that bitterness. Although this does work, for this salad, I like creating a light, fluffy (yes, fluffy) texture from the curly kale I use. How do you achieve such fluffiness, you may ask? Chiffonade your kale. Remove the stems, stack the leaves, roll them tightly into a cigar shape and slice ever – so – thinly. The taste and texture turn out remarkable.

This is what I’m talking about – super thin/chiffonade – it may take a few more minutes in prep time, but once you try your kale salads this way, you’ll never do otherwise!

Kale Chiffonade

 

And here’s the salad of the hour:

Strawberry Kale Salad Overhead

 

 

Strawberry Kale Salad

 

 

Strawberry Kale Salad

 

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

 

Vinaigrette:

1 small shallot, peeled and diced small

1 ½ tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

 

In a medium container with a tight fitting lid or medium bowl, combine the shallot and vinegars. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine, or, whisk to combine the ingredients if using a bowl.

 

Salad:

1 bunch curly kale, stems discarded, leaves stacked, rolled and sliced finely (chiffonade)

½ cup sliced almonds

¼ cup roughly chopped pitted deglet noor dates

8 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced thinly

2 ounces ricotta salata cheese, crumbled

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

In a large bowl, mix the kale, almonds and dates. Add the vinaigrette and mix to combine. Add the strawberries and cheese. Fold gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide into bowls and serve with a drizzle of olive oil.