It’s been a while since I shared one of those quick, easy and cheap recipes that I whip up on a regular basis. What people seem to love about these is the quickness, easiness, and cheapness of them. Like most people, week nights don’t provide me with much time to get a meal on the table and like most people I am trying to stick to more of a budget. I’ve gone over all these concepts in many previous posts so I’m not gonna rage on about this. It’s just reality for most of us. Pasta is a great go to week night meal because the kids don’t moan and whine about it so much and it can be ready super fast depending on what sauce you are cooking up.
My favorite recipes in these situations tend to be the ones where I can get everything ready in the time it takes for the pasta water to boil and cook the noodles. All you’ll need for this one is a stick of gum, duct tape, 2 coat hangers and 1 foot of aluminum foil. Oh, wait, that’s from Magyver. Alright, this one really is super easy but moves fast so stay on your toes. That is a dumb expression now that I think of it. It’s probably pretty tough to cook a quick meal whilst staying on your toes. Ok, let’s go.
Farfelle with Italian Sausage and Kale
1 Pack of farfelle pasta
1 Pound loose Italian sausage meat
1 Bunch fresh kale
1 Finely diced shallot
1/2 Cup white wine
1 Cup reserved pasta water
1/2 Cup grated parmesan cheese
3 to 4 Tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
First thing you gotta do is get a large pot of SALTED water on the burner to get started on boiling. The amount of people that don’t salt their pasta water still baffles me. Think of it like a broth. It’s flavoring your noodles and in many cases you’re going to be using some of that pasta water in your dish too so it may as well have a little zazz in it. 2 or 3 tablespoons is about right. Now dice up that shallot real nice. Next move is to give the kale a good wash and then remove the stems and chop up the leaves. Unlike swiss chard I don’t like using the stems of kale in dishes. I find it too tough and bitter. It’s like the grumpy old man of vegetable stems. But if you’ve got the freezer space feel free to keep them along with other veg stuff that you’d normally discard, like carrot tops etc. and make a vegetable stock. Eating kale is a great way to feel better than other people since it is such a fancy super food. It literally gives me superpowers when I eat it. Once I am done this meal I’ll be able to make a case of beer disappear in no time. I’ll also be able to fart in 6 different octaves for the next 18 to 24 hours. Take that Mariah Carey.
Once your water is boiled and you’ve chucked in your pasta set a large saucepan on high heat. Pour in 2 schloops, or one gloop, of olive oil and let it warm up. Once the oil is good and hot (test it by dipping your finger in it for 5 seconds. If you are in excruciating pain it is ready) throw the sausage meat into the pan. Most grocery stores now have Italian sausage meat sold loose. If not, ask the butcher if you can get a pound of it. If they really don’t have any then have no fear, you can still just buy Italian sausages and remove the meat from the casing. I call that technique Kardashianing the sausage. For those of you that go on and on about buying local don’t worry, these are not sausages from Italy. They are local. It is just the spice recipe that gives it the name.
Anyhow, you should have the meat brown in there for about 4 minutes but after 3 minutes move the sausage over to one side and throw in the shallot. See how it saves using an extra pan? Amazing! Ok, so meat is browned. You can now quickly pour in the wine and deglaze the pan. Lower the heat to medium and toss in the kale. The pasta should be just about ready at this point. Just before draining the pasta make sure to steal a cup of that water from it first and add it to the sausage and kale. With that done go ahead and drain the noodles and add them to the pan with the meat and veg and remove it from the heat. Season with salt and pepper and give it all a good toss. Scoop it into bowls and sprinkle on some decorative parmesan cheese and drizzle a little olive oil over it.
I especially like this dish in winter. I find it really hearty and warming. There are tons of ways to switch this one up too. Sub in spinach or beet greens for the kale or use ground beef, veal or lamb. Garlic makes everything better and now that I think of it I will probably add a few cloves to this next time around. Squeezing half a lemon over this would be pretty sexy too. I asked my kids how they liked this and they replied with a resounding “Meh. It’s alright”. One didn’t like the kale and one didn’t like the sausage. That’s what it’s like I guess with kids but I love this dish. Kids do seem to complain often about food so this weekend I think I am going to make them cook an entire meal whilst my girlfriend and I complain about it all. That’ll teach them. Meh, it probably won’t. Good thing kids are cute.