Simple and Fresh

kale-pastaI have been a leafy-dark-green eating fiend since the New Year. It began, of course, with collards. I noticed that I was eating them with an almost frenzied passion, so I figured my body must be in a winter greens mode. I always think it’s a good idea to listen to your body’s cravings — don’t go all “I must have rapunzel or I will die!” or anything, but it’s good to be aware.

Currently, the kale is wonderful — tender with just the slightest hint of bitterness. Searching for a way to incorporate it into a meal that we could eat for a few dinners, I decided to make a simple pasta dish with ingredients I had hanging around. It’s a bit healthier than a kitchen sink casserole, but it was still quite filling and delicious.

Sausage and Kale Pasta

serves 6

1 package einkorn spaghetti
2 links Apple Gouda sausage, sliced into half-inch pieces (I used Niman Ranch sausage.)
1 jar sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and chopped (I threw in a few grape tomatoes, as well, for color.)
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
2 tablespoons butter
7 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan
salt, pepper, and roasted red pepper flakes to taste

Terroir_CorbieresBring a pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and follow package instructions.
In a large pan, saute sausage until browned. Add kale and cook until leaves turn a darker brown, about five minutes. Toss in garlic and butter and cook until butter is melted.
Take off heat and add the rest of the ingredients, tossing until everything is incorporated. Add pasta and toss again.

We paired the meal with Wine Enthusiast’s 2011 European Winery of the Year, Gerard Bertrand‘s Corbieres. It held black fruit and spicy vanilla notes with a slight touch of Brett. While I’m not usually the biggest fan of ol’ Brett, it was the perfect accompaniment to the kale, and the fruit balanced the sausage and cheeses in a very pretty way.

Harvest Season

harvest season I love harvest season, all of the winter squash rolling in, the more muted colors of produce becoming dominant. The air kisses your cheeks scarlet and wood smoke curls above chimneys — it’s a beautiful time of year. For me, there’s almost a manic jubilance as if I have to get in as many sunny days outside as is humanly possible, and dinners tend to switch between the final salads from the summer crops and the common pasta dishes of chilly evenings.

A note on pasta — I’ve shared my favorite gluten-free pasta already, but I should let you in on the secret of Jovial. Their pastas are made from einkorn, the predecessor to our modern wheat. I’ve found that I’m able to eat einkorn with none of the issues of modern wheat — no gut problems, no swollen joints. The flavor is nutty, and the texture of the cooked pasta is like any al dente. Plus, it’s nutritious. I love it, and I’m glad that it’s a viable alternative to white and whole wheat pastas. I’m sure it will be gracing my dinner table on many a brisk night, especially as the snows find their way to our slopes.