Garlicky Greens + Sausage Penne

This morning I put on a flowy white maternity tunic. Theo (my almost two-year-old) starting jumping with excitement as we left the apartment, pointing at my torso and squealing, “Mama SNOWMAN! Mama SNOWMAN!”.

He wasn’t wrong.  With a round head perched on boobs atop a big belly, all swathed in white, I really did have three round tiers.  There’s really nothing like a toddler’s observations on your appearance to make you feel sexy, eh?

Just thought I’d share, in case anyone was questioning their own wardrobe choice for the day – it could be so much worse.

I’ve been buying tons of greens lately – it’s a pregnancy craving, maybe! But also, Theo is finally getting to the age where he can manage them a bit without them getting stuck in his throat.  I think we avoided them for a while just because (unless they’re pureed) they aren’t super baby-friendly.

This is a very quick and easy, flavourful weeknight dinner with a garlicky base, Italian sausage, lots of briny olives and nutty parmesan tossed with penne and sprinkled with chile flakes.  It boasts eight cups of chopped greens (I used kale and chard), so you’re getting lots of goodness, too!

I usually use meat as a complement to the meal, rather than the star player.  Very seldom do we have the typical North American three-point meal of meat, vegetables and a starch.  I mean, our meals usually contain all three, but they’re in mixed dishes that focus more heavily on the vegetables and grains.  This recipe, for example, uses three sausages and makes six servings. It’s enough for flavour and to satisfy, but the meal still feels light and healthy.

Garlicky Greens + Sausage Penne

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 6 servings
Dinner
American

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb/454 grams penne
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 large Italian sausages mild or spicy, about 3/4 lb, casings removed
  • 8 cups chopped greens kale, swiss chard, spinach, tough stems discarded
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup pitted black olives
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano or parmesan cheese plus more for topping
  • Aleppo pepper or crushed red chile flakes to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cook penne in a large pot of salted, boiling water.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven or large saucepan. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until well browned and no longer pink inside. Add greens and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until just wilted, then remove from heat.
  • When pasta is al dente, scoop out 1 cup of the pasta water; drain the rest. Add penne to the dutch oven along with pasta water, olives, lemon juice and cheese. Stir well and add more salt and chile flakes to taste. Serve topped with more cheese.

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