One of our founder Ann Ogden Gaffney’s top pasta recipes, “This Spicy Sausage Pasta With Greens is known in our house as SGP and is my husband’s favorite. It’s another quick and easy pasta... dish that uses leafy greens, and substitutes in leaner Italian style chicken sausage for pork. The classic veggie used for this dish is broccoli rabe, but you can use just about anything. In fact, the more veggies you add the better. I have used kale, beet greens, chard, even green cabbage, and they have all been delicious. In the summer, try adding 1/2 cup fresh, ripe, chopped tomato instead of the reserved cooking water in step 5. Enjoy!”
Strip the tender parts of leaves from the stalks of the greens. Wash in a sink full of cold water. (See Ann’s Tip)
Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan at medium high heat. Add the rosemary and fry for a minute then add the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Once browned, add the chili pepper, the onion, and the garlic, and fry until the onion is starting to caramelize.
Once the water is boiling add in the pasta. After 5 minutes, add greens to the pasta water. Cook for another 4 minutes.
Meanwhile add ½ cup of pasta water to the sausage and onions. Cook until the sauce looks syrupy. Stir in Parmesan to taste and parsley.
Pour pasta and greens into a colander. Drain well and add to the pan with the sausage mixture. Turn to mix well and cook for a few seconds over a medium high heat until the pasta and greens are coated in sauce, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese.
If you are using chard, unlike kale or collards their stems are edible and can be thinly sliced and added to the sausage along with the onion in step 3, or blanched and frozen for another use.
You can also use frozen greens to make this. At the end of step 3 when the onions are caramelized, add them to the pan with 1/2 cup of pasta water.
If you can’t find Italian style chicken sausage at the store, buy plain sweet chicken sausage, and in step 2 along with the rosemary, if you have them, add 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds.