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.

One Pan Meal

One Pan MealMeals that can be created with a minimum of dishes dirtied are always good things. They tend to be simple, filling meals that are satisfying to consume.

One of my favorites is not only simple, it’s also incredibly inexpensive. It involves three, yes three, ingredients — potatoes, sausage, and sauerkraut. I try to have at least two meals a day that contain fermented foods. Lunch is easy, as I always have a fruit smoothie blended with yogurt. It should be somewhat obvious at this point that I’m a fan of pairing fermented grapes with dinner. Sometimes, a bit more of those helpful, little organisms that exist within fermented foods are desired. Not only can they give a dish more of a tang, more of a flavor profile, they can also make your gut happier. That’s when a good sauerkraut, kimchi, pickle, etc. is needed.

beerSince I’ve been suggesting perfect pairings to go with my weekly dish-of-choice, I thought I’d share what I drink with my humble — though incredibly satisfying — one pan meal. Beer, specifically Lost Coast’s Great White, my all-time favorite brew, is a perfect choice. It’s citrus-y with a spicy finish, pairs well with all of the flavors of the dish, and is light enough to not bog down the stomach.

Just as I’ve found that I can eat fermented bread, I’ve found that I have no issues with beer. Here’s where you’d hear both a big, relieved sigh and a mighty, “Yahoo!” if I was hanging out with you irl.

 

A Super Simple One Pan Meal

serves 3-4 people

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
2 bratwurst or other sausage of your choice
16 fl oz sauerkraut

Heat up a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook bratwurst until they’re beginning to brown slightly. Add potatoes and cook until potatoes are soft, up to 30 minutes. (If you purchased pre-cooked brats, cook potatoes first, then add sausage and brown.) Once potatoes are cooked, lower heat to how, add sauerkraut and keep in pan just long enough for it to warm. Serve right away.

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