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Penne with Kale and Chicken Sausage

Yield: serves 4-5


  • 16 oz dried penne pasta
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 oz spicy Italian chicken sausage, removed from casing
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 oz (1 pound) coarsely chopped kale, removed from large center ribs
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted


  • Cook penne in a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook to al dente according to pasta's package directions. Before draining water, reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet. Add oil. When pan is hot, add chicken sausage. Cook over medium-high heat. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up chicken into bite size chunks as it cooks.
  • Once chicken starts to brown, add diced onions. Cook until onions begin to soften and become translucent. Add minced garlic and stir to combine.
  • Slightly reduce heat. Add kale in two additions if it does not fit in the pan. Add red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until kale as wilted and chicken sausage has fully browned.
  • Remove from heat and add parmesan cheese and cooked pasta. Toss to combine and distribute ingredients. If pasta is too dry, add reserved pasta water 1 Tbsp at a time until moist.
  • Serve with toasted almonds and additional parmesan cheese.