The main content

Sausage, Kale and Cranberry Pasta


  • 1 pound rigatoni

  • Salt

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1/2 pound hot bulk Italian sausage

  • 1/2 pound sweet bulk Italian sausage

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

  • 3/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce

  • 3/4 cup dry red wine (eyeball it)

  • 1 1/4 pounds kale, stems removed and chopped

  • Black pepper

  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, to taste

  • 3/4 cup grated Romano cheese (3 generous handfuls), plus some to pass at the table


Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Add the rigatoni and salt and cook to al dente, with a bite to it. Drain and reserve two ladles of pasta water.

While the pasta cooks, heat the EVOO, two turns of the pan, in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, brown and crumble it, then add the garlic and onion and cook until tender, 5-6 minutes. Add the cranberry sauce and wine and stir to combine, then reduce a minute. Add kale in bunches and stir to wilt down. Add the reserved pasta water. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, to taste.

Add the pasta to the pan with sausage and kale. Top the pasta with cheese and toss with the kale mixture to combine. Serve immediately with extra cheese for topping.