Angel Hair Pasta with Sausage and Kale comes together in twenty minutes and is full of flavor from Italian turkey sausage, garlic, lemon, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese.
Pasta is so easy to make and dress up with just about anything. It's like a nice blank slate that accepts just about any accouterments you want to throw at it. Angel hair pasta (also known as capellini pasta in Italy) happens to be one of my more favorite pasta because it's so fine and I think pairs nicely with bigger, more textured proteins and vegetables. For example, you wouldn't really want a really big, chewy pasta like rotini to go along with chunkier proteins and veggies, would you? Not that there's anything wrong with it. I just enjoy varying my textures is all.
For this particular dish, I already had the angel hair and was looking for something to go along with it that would be hearty and quick, savory and satisfying. Then, there it was, staring at me from the back of the freezer: turkey sausage. Perfect! I also had some kale I needed to use or lose, so to speak. The finishing touches of chicken broth, lemon, and Parmesan really made this healthy dish sing. Add some red wine, sit outside, and light a candle and you could almost pretend you're on the veranda in a Tuscan villa.
I think this simple and delicious dinner is perfect for a busy weeknight when you want something comforting but don't want to do too much cooking. It comes together from start to finish in about 20 minutes and couldn't be more satisfying. Use your favorite sweet or hot turkey sausage and feel free to use kale, spinach, chard, broccoli, asparagus, or zucchini for the vegetable. Tomatoes are also a great addition or even a 1/4 cup of half-and-half can make everything taste nice and creamy.
What Makes This Angel Hair Pasta with Sausage and Kale Healthy?
- Pasta isn't the enemy, not always, anyway. Of course, it isn't great to subsist on pasta alone, but a serving here or there will help to fill you up and provide fiber — particularly if you go with a whole-wheat pasta, which has twice the fiber of regular, white pasta.
- Sausage is a great source of protein, especially if you choose a lightened-up turkey or chicken version. Also, look for a lower-sodium sausage, if available.
- Kale is hydrating, low carb, low calorie, and low fat. It also contains protein, folate, manganese, and vitamins K, C, A, and B6.
- The juice from the lemon adds not only acidity but vitamin C as well.
- Chicken broth is low calorie and contains vitamins and minerals that help with bone and tissue strength.
- Parmesan cheese contains both calcium and vitamin D, and is a lower-calorie cheese.
Ideas for Customizing Angel Hair Pasta with Sausage and Kale
Even though I used turkey sausage in this dish, you can use just about any kind of sausage (well, avoid breakfast sausage, which tends to have a maple flavor to it). I also like buying fresh chicken sausages from the meat counter (again, just about any flavor will do) and cooking them up for this dish. Simply slice the casing down the middle and remove it from the sausage. It will cook up into juicy, little ground sausage bits in no time, with a little help from a spatula or wooden spoon. Other ways to customize this dish include:
- Swapping sausage for a ground meat substitute or tofu for a vegetarian option.
- Skip the meat and meat substitutes and add in more of your favorite vegetables with the kale.
- Use another hearty green, like arugula or Swiss chard instead of kale.
- Skip the lemon and add a can of diced tomatoes to the pan before adding the pasta and Parmesan.
- Swap out angel hair for any pasta you have on hand — any kind will do, really!
- Put the meal together and transfer to an oven-safe dish. Top with fresh mozzarella and broil till the cheese is nice and brown and bubbly for a "casserole" version of this dish.
- Cook the kale and sausage as instructed and skip the pasta altogether if you are watching your carb intake, or substitute zoodles for the pasta.
How Long Does Angel Hair Pasta Take to Cook?
Luckily for those of us in a hurry, angel hair cooks up in a snap. It only takes about three to five minutes for angel hair pasta to go from dried to al dente. You can stop boiling it after only two minutes if you plan on cooking it again, like in a pan or a casserole dish. If you're using another pasta instead of angel hair, be sure to read the cooking directions to make sure it comes out just the way you like it.
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Angel Hair Pasta with Sausage and Kale
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- 8 oz. high fiber angel hair pasta
- 1/2 lb. low fat ground turkey sausage (or links)
- 2 U garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 4 cups kale, chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 U Juice of 1 lemon (or lime)
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, brown the turkey sausage in a pan until no longer brown. Add the kale, garlic, and red pepper flakes if using. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the broth and scrape up any browned bits in the pan. Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes until kale is tender.
- Add pasta to the pan and stir together. Top with Parmesan cheese and lemon juice.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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