Rigatoni with Kale Pesto and Sausage

Every so often, I find Tuscan Kale in my produce market and I make this pesto.  Tonight however, I was in the mood for this dish and there was no Tuscan Kale at my market, only regular kale.  I decided to try the dish with regular kale, and the results were great!  The beauty of this pesto is that since the greens are cooked, the sauce will not blacken once exposed to the air, therefore it need not be submerged in oil.  This means you’ll need less oil with which to make the pesto and less oil in which to store it.  I treat this pesto more as a vegetable than a sauce, so I’ve piled on a lot of it onto the pasta–much more than I would with basil pesto.

In addition, I’m adding some pork sausages to the dish–cooked in a bit of tomato sauce.  I’m only adding a touch of the sauce to the dish (a couple of tablespoons).  It’s not meant to be a tomato-based sauce, but rather, a green sauce with just a kiss of tomato.  It’s  a meal all by itself.

Rigatoni with Kale Pesto and Sausage

serves 4

3 pieces of Italian Sausage, boiled for 15 minutes

4 tbls tomato sauce

1 bunch kale, center stems removed and washed

2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1/4 c grated pecorino romano + more for sprinkling at the table

1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb rigatoni

salt and pepper to taste.

Plunge kale into boiling salted water and boil for 5 minutes.  Drain, cool and squeeze dry in small bunches.

On low heat, saute garlic in 1 tbl olive oil just until golden.

In food processor, put kale, garlic (and its oil) plus 2 tablespoons additional oil and pulse until kale is chopped fine.  Add the remainder of oil and the pecorino cheese and process until a green sauce forms (not too finely).

Slice sausages into disks and simmer in the tomato while pasta boils.  Toss cooked pasta with sausage and kale.  Thin with a bit of pasta water if it’s too tight. 

Serve with extra cheese and black pepper.

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