Shell Pasta with Sausage and Greens

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My father loves to watch cooking shows and is often inspired to try out a new dish he sees prepared on a show. Today he drew inspiration from Weir Cooking in the City a program of public television KQED in San Francisco. Joanne Weir used to work at Chez Panisse and now teaches cooking classes in the city.

This simple recipe of pasta, sausage, Parmesan cheese and rabe or kale is very easy to prepare and delicious. After indulging tonight we all agreed that it was a keeper.

Ms. Weir’s recipe calls for broccoli rabe, which wasn’t available, but kale made a perfectly fine substitution. Kale can be quite bitter on its own, but included in this dish there is no trace of bitterness; it is an accent of flavor to the sausage and cheese.

Shell Pasta with Sausage and Greens Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. shell or ear-shaped "Conchiglie" pasta
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 lb Italian sausage, sweet or hot, or a mixture of both
  • 12 oz bunch of kale, broccoli rabe, or other green, chopped (if using kale, or leafy green, remove and discard center stem)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Method

1 Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil (1 Tbsp of salt). Add the pasta and cook as directed on the package, until al dente.

2 While pasta is being prepared, heat 1 1/2 cups of water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a saucepan until simmering. Add the kale or rabe and cook for 8 minutes, or until tender. Strain and set aside.

3 While greens are cooking, remove the sausage from their casings (if in links) and crumble onto a large sauté pan. Heat on medium heat and gently cook until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage from the pan to a bowl, set aside. Add the chopped green onions to pan, sauté until soft. Add garlic and cook for a minute more.

4 When pasta is done, drain and add to the pan with the green onions. Add the sausage and kale (or rabe) to the pan and toss to combine. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Add chile pepper flakes to taste.

Note: You might want to try experimenting with adding some sautéed bell pepper.

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Showing 4 of 21 Comments

  • George

    Hi Elise, I just made this for dinner, and realized that I first made it when I read it on your blog almost 10 years ago! It’s been a staple in my repertoire ever since. I also remembered commenting on my blog back then that it seemed like it needed a big skillet to cook the recipe as written… :D

    Thanks for the great work!

  • erica

    omg. love it! Just made this and it is great i added diced regular onions instead of green onion. i also used romano cheese instead of parmesan, and spinich instead of kale. It is great! This will be a main staple at my house!

  • Novelismo

    Adding some sliced potatoes browned up crispy in butter or olive oil with chopped onion might raise this to another level of happiness …

  • Laura Newton

    We made this with spanish onions, green peppers, kale and a big squeeze of lemon over each plate. It was delicious! The lemon really made a big difference. We also drizzled some herbed oil over the veggies before tossing them with the pasta. :) Yum!

  • Kate Steff

    I made this last Friday night. Used Red Chard, hot chicken sausage, a few mushrooms and sweet red bell peppers (sauted with the green onions).

    I drained the chard, as it gave off a lot of liquid, reserving about a 1/2 cup for tossing.

    It reheated well for lunch the next day, too. Boyfriend had TWO helpings on the first night – couldn’t get over how good it was.

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