This creamy sausage kale pasta is rich, comforting, and easy to make in less than 30 minutes. Italian sausage, orecchiette pasta, and kale come together in a lemon cream sauce, giving you a meal that’s guaranteed to be a hit every time.Jump to Recipe
Sausage kale orecchiette pasta with lemon cream sauce
Craving Zuppa Toscana soup but not the effort that comes along with it? Make this creamy sausage kale pasta instead!
Creamy Sausage Orecchiette Pasta with Kale is an elegant, yet easy meal you can tackle for busy weeknight meals, date nights, or whenever you’re craving comfort food. Orecchiette pasta recipes are traditionally served with sausage and this dish is no exception. Each bite only gets better when you taste the lemon cream sauce and wilted kale.
This easy sausage and kale pasta is just as rich, creamy, and irresistible as Zuppa Toscana but feels like classic comfort food. The whole family is sure to love it!
- Orecchiette pasta – Orecchiette means “little ears” in Italian because, well, it looks like small ears! This flat, dome-shaped pasta scoops up creamy sauce like a pro and is traditionally paired with pork or sausage. It’d be a perfect fit in my Creamy Sausage Pasta with Spinach! If you can’t find orecchiette, use another short-cut pasta that holds sauce well, like penne or ziti.
- Italian sausage – This sausage has some spice and tons of flavors thanks to the caraway seeds, anise, and red pepper flakes. If you can’t find Italian sausages, use another sausage variety, ground pork (to keep everything easy), or homemade meatballs.
- Herbs and seasonings – All you need are red pepper flakes and dried oregano.
- Kale – This leafy green is added in for some nutrition and a pop of green in the Italian pasta. It’s a necessary ingredient in Zuppa Toscana soup but can easily be substituted for baby spinach instead.
- Lemon cream sauce – Made from heavy cream, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Regular milk or half and half can be substituted for the cream but the sauce won’t be as thick or rich.
How to make creamy sausage kale pasta
- Cook the pasta: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the orecchiette pasta according to the package instructions. Make sure to reserve some of the pasta water before draining.
- Saute the shallots and sausage: Saute the shallots in an oiled skillet. Once they’re translucent, add the sausages and cook until browned all over.
- Add the flavor and kale: To finish, add the kale, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and oregano into the pan.
- Finish with the lemon cream sauce: Add the heavy cream and parmesan cheese to the pan. Stir until thickened, then add the drained pasta, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir to coat, then serve!
Tips and variations
- If the cream sauce isn’t thick enough – Stir a splash of reserved pasta water into the pan once you add the cooked pasta.
- Add more veggies – Like mushrooms, bell peppers, olives, or capers.
- Instead of pork – You can make this recipe with ground beef, chicken, or turkey instead.
- Gluten-free – Use your favorite gluten-free pasta instead.
If you want your creamy sausage pasta to look and taste like Zuppa Toscana pasta, top each bowl with crispy bacon and red pepper flakes. Freshly grated parmesan is never a bad addition either!
This pasta recipe is quite rich and heavy on its own. If you’re making it for a family dinner, opt for vegetable-forward dishes, salads, and bread on the side. Freshly baked focaccia, pesto green bean salad, and kale Caesar salad are wonderful choices.
Looking for more creamy pasta recipes?
- Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- Creamy Sausage Tortellini Soup
- Penne Alla Vodka
- Creamy Lemon Orzo with Corn
Did you try this Creamy Sausage Orecchiette Pasta with Kale? Don’t forget to tell me what you think in the comments below, or share a picture on Instagram! I love to share all of your recreations on my page.
Creamy Sausage Orecchiette Pasta with Kale
- 16 oz orecchiette or any other pasta
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt more to taste and for pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots diced or ½ sweet onion
- 2 lbs ground pork or mild italian sausage (casings removed)
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bunch lacinato kale or curly kale, stems removed, finely chopped
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated , plus more for serving
- 1 lemon zested
- ½ lemon juiced
- Add water to a large pot, season with salt and bring it to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
- While the pasta cooks, in a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat, cook the shallots in olive oil for 2 minutes until translucent.
- Add pork or sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, ½ tablespoon kosher salt and oregano and cook until fragrant, 1 more minute.
- Add the finely chopped kale, saute until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream and parmesan cheese to the pan over medium heat. Stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Adjust salt to taste.
- Add the drained pasta. If the sauce needs to be thinned out, add ¼ cup of pasta water. Stir to combine. Add more pasta water as you like.
- Add the lemon juice and lemon zest, stir to combine.
- Serve the pasta with more grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
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