Kale and Sausage Pasta, Mojito

I’m going to kick off the summer CSA section with a recipe that I’ve made a few times this spring but that really got improved with the mint I got in my first CSA box. Also, this is recipe for celebration and it’s really great to have a first box from a good CSA run by good people. We signed up for a full box from Lovefood. So far the name is apt. Their mint is fantastically flavorful.

Mojito

  • 3 sprigs mint
  • 3 oz white rum
  • 1 oz to 2 oz simple syrup
  • 1.5 oz fresh lime juice

Put two sprigs of mint in a highball glass and gently bruise. Add rum, lime juice, and syrup. Stir. Add ice cubes. Stir. Garnish with the third sprig of mint.

Kale and Sausage Pasta

This is a family favorite adapted (if it differs at all, I’ve made it so many times I don’t look at the recipe book any more) from Alice Waters’ wonderful The Art of Simple Food. This is almost always one of the kids favorites; it’s pretty quick to make; it’s even pretty good cold (pack lunch).

I think the key to this recipe (most recipes) is to make sure you get the good stuff. That means pork sausage with real flavor. Our favorite is Willow Creek, available at the Dane County Farmer’s Market and at the Coop.

Use real Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The key difference between this and substitutes (there are some good ones in Wisconsin!) is the way it melts and dissolves into the dish.

In a cast iron dutch oven, brown in two batches:

Remove the sausage to a bowl and drain excess fat. Fry, scraping up the browned bits of sausage:

  • One large yellow onion, diced fine

Add:

  • 1 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • salt to taste

Let the onion cook until it’s softened and beginning to brown, 10 minutes. Add:

  • 2 bunches kale, rinsed, drained, stemmed and chopped

Cook to soften (10 minutes). Add:

  • 4 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated fine on a microplane

Add salt and pepper as necessary. Add:

  • One pound chunky pasta (gemelli), cooked al dente in salted water and drained.

If you cook the pasta al dente and mix everything together hot the pasta will absorb some of the liquid (but this is a pretty dry dish).

I like this topped with more cheese and some Crystal hot sauce.

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