Pasta with Kale, Sausage and Mascarpone

I thought I'd pull this go-to pasta dish recipe out of the archives, since it's perfect for this time of year. Inspired by a Food & Wine recipe, the dish uses a dollop of mascarpone cheese to create a simple velvety sauce that will make your friends think you worked harder than you did. It's a great all-season dish since you can find greens year-round. I sometimes use swiss chard, beet greens or dandelion greens, as well. Leave out the sausage for a vegetarian meal.

Orecchiette with Kale, Sausage and Mascarpone
serves 4-6

1 pound orecchiette pasta
3 fresh spicy pork sausages, casings removed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green parts, cleaned and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of kale, ribs removed and chopped into small pieces
1 tsp red pepper flakes
¼ cup mascarpone cheese
parsley for garnish

Cook the pasta according to the instructions in a large pasta pot. Drain, but don’t rinse.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, cook the sausage over medium high, breaking it into small chunks with a wooden spoon. Drain on paper towels, and pour most of the grease out of the pan.

Return the pan to medium heat, and add 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the leeks and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

In the pasta pot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat and add the kale, tossing to coat. Cover and cook until just wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add the cooked pasta, sausage, and leek and garlic mixture to the pasta pot and toss with kale to combine and heat through.

Remove pot from heat. Add the red pepper flakes and mascarpone and stir to thoroughly combine all ingredients. Serve in large bowls and garnish with parsley.

More recipes you might like:

* Beef Stew with Carrots and Potatoes
* Gingered Carrot Souffle
* Soupergirl's Black Bean Chili with Sweet Potatoes