The other day, I was searching for something “Fall-like” to make. I know, I’ve mentioned it before, but it is amazing how much I missed Fall living in Los Angeles. You would think that 3 1/2 years couldn’t out-do the 27 years I spent living on the East Coast, but I think I may have turned into a West Coast girl. I love the low humidity, and the fact that it is currently in the 60s in November. I am terrified of the impending snow and cold. My mother bought me a North Face jacket with a PrimaLoft lining to make sure that I don’t freeze-to-death walking on the streets of NYC. You see, here in NYC, we can’t run from our houses into the comfort of our heated cars, no, we have to walk to where we want to go regardless of the weather. However, Fall brings cozy turtlenecks, sweaters, and a heartier fare. November means Thanksgiving, spending time with family, and soon it will be Hanukkah and Christmas. Now, that is something to look forward to!
After searching around the net, I got sucked into my old favorite, Food Network. I am trying to get out of my old habits, but I just love their website. Everything is so well-organized and the website is user-friendly, great for a girl who’s cookbooks are packed safely in her storage unit. Sigh. I came across a recipe that included a few of my and Adam’s favorite things: sausage, cranberries, and pasta. As an added bonus, there was the beta carotene, vitamin K and vitamin C rich kale!
Do these really go together? The answer is, yes. The sweet Italian sausage goes very nicely with the tart/sweet cranberries and wine. Adam took his first bite and stated “This is sweet”, a little bewildered, and continued “but it’s really good!”.
The recipe calls for a combination of hot and sweet Italian sausage, but my local grocery store was out of hot sausage, so I added a little cayenne pepper to account for the lack of hot sausage.
Sausage, Kale and Cranberry Pasta (from http://www.foodnetwork.com Rachael Ray) Printable Recipe
1 pound rigatoni
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1/2 pound hot bulk Italian sausage
1/2 pound sweet bulk Italian sausage
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
3/4 cup dry red wine, eyeball it
1 1/4 pounds kale, stems removed and chopped
1/8 to 1/4 tsp nutmeg, to your taste
3/4 cup Romano cheese, 3 generous handfuls, plus some to pass at the table
Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Add rigatoni and salt and cook to al dente or with a bite to it. Drain and reserve 2 ladles of pasta water.
While pasta cooks, heat extra-virgin olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, brown and crumble it, then add garlic and onions and cook until tender 5 to 6 minutes. Add cranberry sauce and wine and stir to combine then reduce a minute. Add kale in bunches and stir to wilt down. Add the reserved pasta water. Season the dish with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
Add pasta to the pan with sausage and kale. Top pasta with cheese and toss with kale mixture to combine. Serve immediately with extra cheese for topping.