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Rigatoni with Tuscan Kale, Mushrooms, and Sausage

Rigatoni with Tuscan Kale, Mushrooms, and Sausage

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a saucepot. Add the sausage and cook until browned, about 7-8 minutes. Remove with tongs to a bowl and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pot and add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then remove to a bowl and set aside. Add the remaining olive oil along with the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook until softened, stirring often, for 8-9 minutes.

Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sausage back into the pot and the crushed tomatoes. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Season with salt until it tastes like the sea and add the pasta. Cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1 cup pasta water.

Add the mushrooms and thyme to the sauce, stir, and toss with the pasta. Add up to 1 cup of the reserved pasta water to thicken the sauce, if needed. Serve with grated pecorino romano.

Rigatoni with Sausage, Beans, and Greens

Our favorite and best method of making pasta—the same one the pros use in restaurants—is one in which the pasta finishes cooking in a glossy sauce made by emulsifying cheese into the pasta cooking liquid. It’s so easy and good it might change your life (or if not your entire life, then definitely your weeknight pasta game).

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 (8 ounce) package rigatoni pasta
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 4 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook rigatoni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until tender yet firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a large baking dish.

Cook sausage and onion in a large skillet until meat is no longer pink and onions are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.

Combine spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, Italian seasoning, basil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add sausage and onion mixture stir until well combined. Add pasta and carefully mix until well incorporated. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and cover.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, top with remaining mozzarella, and bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

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Pasta with Italian Sausage, Kale and Mushrooms

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I have a fun little secret for you guys. This amazing pasta is actually…vegetarian! ?

Ok, well actually, it can be or it doesn’t have to be. If you’re a fan of traditional Italian sausage or chicken sausage, you can totally stick with that. But…as a new member of the My-Fiancé-Is-A-Vegetarian Club, I thought I’d let you guys in today on one of my favorite ingredients for plant-based cooking that my vegetarian and non-vegetarian friends alike all rave about. Like, truly. I’ve been swapping this stuff into recipes in place of traditional Italian sausage for years and years — especially when I know that we have vegetarians or vegans at a gathering — and everyone not only comments on the amazing flavor, but almost always asks for the brand and where they can find it. (Oh, and they rarely guess that it’s meat-free.)

So if you’re a vegetarian or vegan looking for a hearty, delicious, Italian sausage alternative — or, like me, just trying to eat less meat in general, or cooking for a vegetarian — I genuinely recommend tracking down a package to try.

Have any of you guys tried it before?

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been a fan of 95% of the meatless Italian “sausages” that I’ve tried over the years. (And believe me, I’ve tried quite a few, since I tend to get a little iffy about everything that goes into traditional sausages.) But some of my vegan friends in Kansas City introduced me to this brand about five years ago, back when they were available at Costco. And I immediately got hooked…and haven’t looked back since. And now Barclay is totally hooked on them as well.

  1. They’re seriously tasty. Truly. The seasonings that they use are bold and savory and make just about any meal more delicious. Pro tip: Be sure to saute them until they’re extra browned around the edges. Then the flavor will intensify, and you’ll get that awesome crispy texture on the outsides.
  2. They’re made with ingredients I feel good about: Vital wheat gluten, filtered water, expeller pressed safflower oil, red wine, eggplant, onions, naturally flavored yeast extract, garlic, barley malt, dried red bell pepper, fennel seed, granulated garlic, spices and sea salt…to be exact. (Eggplant for the win!)
  3. They’re easy to store in the freezer for weeks and weeks. I always keep a batch on hand.
  4. They’re available at most grocery stores now. You can check here for stores that carry it in your area, or order in bulk on Amazon.
  5. They’re 100% meat-free! Perfect for meals with this vegetarian fiancé of mine, who actually loves and misses the taste of meat, but chooses to eat vegetarian for personal ethical reasons.

(Oh, and just to be clear, this isn’t a sponsored post at all. Just a friendly PSA from your food blogger, who genuinely recommends the stuff. ?)

Anyway, we use Field Roast to make a simple pasta or stir-fry at least once or twice a month, usually just adding in whatever leftover ingredients I have on hand. But today’s recipe is one of our favorites — Pasta with Italian Sausage, Kale (or some sort of greens), Mushrooms (or whatever other veggies are around), with lots and lots of garlic and Parmesan.

Just cook the pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, sauté the Italian sausage until it’s nice and browned and crispy. Then transfer it to a separate plate, and sauté the mushrooms and kale until they’re softened and cooked through. Add lots and lots of fragrant garlic. Maybe a splash of white wine. And then…

…voila! A huge and delicious pot of pasta will be yours to enjoy!!

Again, feel totally free to stick with traditional Italian sausage if that’s your thing. But as someone who’s trying to eat less and less meat — and now has extra motivation to do so cooking for this handsome vegetarian all of the time — I just wanted you to know about this product! And this awesome pasta recipe. )


Rinse the dried mushrooms and place them in a bowl. Warm half the diluted Glace de Viande Gold® until very hot, then pour it over mushrooms. Let stand until the mushrooms have softened, about 20 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid, and chop them. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it is tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the sausage, breaking up the pieces as you stir, and cook until it's no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook until they're tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the reserved porcini, white wine, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes, and simmer until nearly all the liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently.

Add the rosemary and the remaining diluted Glace de Viande Gold®, and then pour in the reserved soaking liquid, leaving any sediment behind. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook until the liquid is syrupy, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the cream and simmer another 5 minutes. (This sauce can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cool it slightly, then chill it in the refrigerator. Rewarm the sauce before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the bay leaf from the sauce and add the pasta and Parmesan, stirring well to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pasta and sauce to an oiled 3 1/2-quart baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake until the pasta is hot, about 25 minutes. Serve sprinkled with addtional Parmesan and garnished with rosemary sprigs.

  • 250 g rigatoni pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 hot Italian or garlic sausages , casings removed
  • 6 green onions , chopped, white and green parts separated
  • 6 cups chopped kale
  • 398-mL can no-salt-added cannellini beans , drained, rinsed and slightly mashed
  • ½ tsp each salt and pepper
  • finely grated Parmesan , optional
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta following package directions. Reserve 1½ cups pasta water before draining.
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium. Crumble sausages into pan, breaking into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned, about 4 min.
  • Add white parts of onions and cook until softened, about 2 min. Add kale and beans, and cook until kale wilts, about 2 min.
  • Stir in pasta and 1 cup pasta water, adding more if needed. Top with green parts of onions and Parmesan, if desired.

Mashed beans soak up lots of liquid. Adjust texture of sauce to your liking by adding more pasta water.

Italian Sausage and Kale Rigatoni

Happy Wednesday, friends!

I was thinking about this the other day while running (where I get most of my thinking done)… while we’ve (you and I) been able to connect on a deeper level through posts like this, this, this, and this, I’ve never really done a condensed “fun facts” post. Something lighthearted, not too deep, but enough to give you a little glimpse into who I am beyond the recipes.

Remember in school, on the first day, when you’d have to stand up and say your name, where you’re from, and a fun fact. You know, those “ice breakers” our teachers always made us do? I was always so bad at those. Beyond just being utterly terrified of public speaking (in this case, simply speaking in front of a few other people), I just could never really think of a fun fact about myself like the other students. You’d here things like “I was born in Germany” or “I met the President”… and I’m over here like “uhhhh pass”.

So, here we go… I’m going to try and think of 20 random fun facts about myself. And can I ask you for a favor in return? Can you comment with a few fun facts about YOU? I’d love to know more about who’s reading this little blog here!

1. I’ve lived in Tennessee for part of my life!

2. I was a cheerleader for eight years (competitive and high school) and pole vaulted for four years.

3. I used to loathe running (my track coach would make the PVers run) in high school. You’d never guess I do it for a stress reliever now.

4. I’ve been to Hawaii three times.

5. My first language was Spanish. My mom is from Cuba, as is her whole family, and I was born in Miami where Spanish is ubiquitous. I lost my fluency upon moving to Memphis three years later, but my mom/family still speak to me in Spanish (and I respond in English most of the time).

6. The first time I ever watched Lone Survivor, the lone survivor himself (Marcus Luttrell) was sitting right in front of me. He was training at the facility I interned at in Pensacola, and had rented out a local movie theater for the staff to watch it with him.

7. I once saw the entire SNL cast at the Beverley Hilton in Beverley Hills because the hotel was hosting a cast meeting in one of their conference rooms, and my family and I happened to be staying there while on vacation. To this day it kills me that I was too afraid to bother them for a photo.

8. I’ve run one half marathon – the Disney Princess Half at Disney World.

9. My favorite TV shows include Silicon Valley, Girls, and almost everything on Bravo.

10. My nickname in elementary school was “Mingo” because everybody made fun of me for having “flamingo legs” so I said eff you and called myself Mingo.

11. My favorite band in middle school was Blink-182, so much so that my email address was “blink182iscool”.

12. I played the violin when I was younger.

13. I watch The Devil Wears Prada every time it’s on TV.

14. My least favorite food is olives. *gag*

15. I hate rollercoasters. You could not pay me a million dollars to ride one. I am not kidding.

16. I want to publish a book one day.

17. The best hamburger I’ve ever had was a teriyaki burger at a gas station in Hawaii.

18. I drink coffee every single day.

19. I have my B.S. in Sport Management with a minor in Business Administration. My favorite sports team(s) is the Florida Gators.

20. If there was one dish that I had to eat for the rest of my life, it would be pasta.

*gasps for air because that was really hard*

I’m not really sure if there is anyone in the world that doesn’t like pasta. I’m convinced that if you don’t, that you actually do, and you’re just lying. So don’t even try to tell me that you don’t like pasta, ‘CAUSE YOU LYIN’.

I used to be afraid to indulge in pasta, but now I eat it about once a week. Being that my father’s family is Sicilian, it’s pretty much in my blood to eat pasta on the reg, so I kind of have to, right?

Actually, funny enough, we didn’t eat that much pasta when we visited Sicily a couple years ago. The town we visited was Cefalu, where my family lives. It’s a beach town, so we got our fill of seafood. Of course we enjoyed pasta here and there, but it wasn’t as prominent there as it was in Rome.

This Italian Sausage and Kale Rigatoni is a great weeknight dinner option as it’s basically cooked in one skillet (minus boiling the pasta).

Creamy Sausage and Mushroom Rigatoni

My 10-year-old son has shown some interest in the kitchen lately and so now whenever I’m making dinner he asks if he can help.

I love having a sous chef in the kitchen. When I was making this dish he was cooking the mushrooms and I told him to keep cooking them until they gave up their juice.

I always have to remember that kids need everything explained to them. Like this morning when I told my 6-year-old son to pick up the toys off the lawn and he kept looking at me strangely and finally asked, “What’s a lawn?”

I tried explaining to my older son that with mushrooms after they have cooked for a while will start to release their moisture.

Kind of like when you’re at the gym and about 10 minutes into your workout you start to sweat. You don’t sweat right away. It takes a while.”

Right now I’m doing the Kayla Itsines program at the gym. I like it because it’s short, high intensity, and it works.

I’m not trying to sell it or anything, I’ve just had a lot of you ask what I do for a workout regime.

Apparently, half of my gym is also doing the same program because once you’re familiar with the program you can spot it anywhere.

Everyone is grabbing the same equipment that I need for the workout. I spotted a girl right next to me doing the program.

We were both exhausted and completely out of breath. I nodded over to her and said, “Kayla?” and she said, “Yep.”

And you might have to hit the gym after this dinner. It’s delicious but not very figure friendly. My kids loved and it’s an easy weeknight meal.

Farfalle with Italian Sausage and Tuscan Kale

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings
  • Category: entree
  • Cuisine: Italian


1 12-ounce box dry farfalle, or other pasta of your choice

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 pound Italian sweet sausage, removed from casing

½ cup jarred, mild piquante peppers, diced (*see Notes below – we like Peppadew)

3 large garlic cloves, smashed and coarsely chopped

4 cups Tuscan kale, stems removed, cleaned and cut into strips (**see Notes below)

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus another ½ cup to sprinkle on finished dish

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle over finished dish


Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and once boiling salt the water with a generous amount of kosher salt. Then add the pasta and cook just shy of al dente.

While pasta is cooking, in a large high sided skillet or sauté pan, add two tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat and add raw sausage and chopped piquante peppers. Break the meat apart as it cooks and cook until no more pink is left. Use a slotted spoon or spider and remove contents to a waiting bowl but leave fat in pan. Add enough olive oil to equal two tablespoons of fat in the pan.

Add the anchovies and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes over medium until anchovies break up and garlic has browned.

Add the last of the olive oil if any is left.

Add the kale with any accumulated water trapped in the leaves and cook for another 4-5 minutes then add the sausage mixture back in along with the chicken stock and cook for five minutes at a gentle bubble.

If the sausage mixture is done before the pasta, just shut off the burner until the pasta is ready.

Using a spider or strainer, add the pasta to the sausage mixture along with one cup of pasta water and a half cup of the Parmesan cheese.

Cook over medium heat until the water evaporates and the pasta is cooked, maybe 2-3 more minutes.

Remove to a serving bowl and drizzle with the two tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining half cup of Parmesan cheese grated over the top.


*Piquante peppers are small round bright red Italian peppers that are packed in a brine and jarred. They come in mild and hot. We used mild for this recipe. They are usually found in the produce section or the pickle and olive section or in the Italian specialty section. The brand we used was Peppadew.

**Tuscan Kale is actually very easy to prepare. You want to separate the leaves from the stems by grabbing the leaves at the base of the stem and gliding your fingers to the end, pulling the leaf from the stem as you pull down. Use the right amount of force, too much and the stem snaps, not enough and the leaf won’t pull away from the stem. It may take you a few tries to get the hang of it. Then take all of the leaves, pile them on top of each other and roll like a cigar. Hold that roll tight on your board and with a sharp knife, start cutting shreds from one end to the other. Once you reach the end, run the knife back through the pile a few times to cut the shreds. Rinse thoroughly in a colander and measure out four cups.