Orecchiette with Kale, Turkey Sausage and Breadcrumbs
1package sweet Italian turkey sausage1.2 lbs, removed from casings
1/4– 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakesdepending on how spicy you like it
1bunch Tuscan kale1 lb, chopped
1cuplow sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3cupgrated Pecorino Romano cheesecan substitute Parmigiano Reggiano
1small clove garlicminced
½cupfresh breadcrumbs from whole wheat bread*
Kosher salt to taste
Bring a large pot filled with salted water to boil over high heat. Add the orecchiette and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving approximately 1 cup of the pasta water.
Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking it up as it cooks. Remove sausage from the pan and set aside in a bowl. Drain any fat in the pan.
Add the remaining 1½ tablespoons oil to the pan. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the kale and toss to coat with the oil. Sauté 1-2 minutes, then add the chicken broth and cover the pan. Cook until the kale is wilted, approximately 6-8 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season the kale with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the sausage, orecchiette, and pecorino romano cheese to the pan and toss to combine all ingredients well. Stir in the reserved pasta water, a small amount at a time until the pasta is coated. Serve the pasta with gremolata breadcrumbs sprinkled on top.
To make the gremolata breadcrumbs, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Toast until breadcrumbs are golden brown, then remove from heat and toss with the lemon zest, parsley, and salt to taste.
* To make the fresh breadcrumbs, remove the crusts from 2 slices of bread and cut the bread into pieces. Pulse in a food processor for 10-15 seconds until crumbs form.