Baked Pasta with Kale

This week's guest blogger is a friend and neighbor who loves to cook and always generously shares her favorite recipes with her appreciative friends and neighbors - this one is a keeper!

These days, who isn't busy?

Who doesn't have 'a lot on their plate'?  Who isn't juggling 'too many balls'? Who hasn't placed too many 'irons in the fire'?

Between work and school and activities, obligations and desires, family and friends - it seems like there will never be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that you want and need to. We are perpetually busy. Staying busy has become our national pastime, hasn't it? Perhaps it feels too indulgent to sit idle once in a while and just be.

We might need to learn how to say no more often. We might need to slow things down, unplug and eat dinner together at the table, even if only once a week. We might need to schedule (oh, the irony) a day where no one needs to run here, there or somewhere else. We might actually need to debunk the myth of multitasking. (I found this article to be pretty interesting: http://www.forbes.com/sites/douglasmerrill/2012/08/17/why-multitasking-doesnt-work/)

This week's guest blogger is sharing a recipe that would be perfect for a night in, relaxing with those you love around the table. So slow down, open up a bottle of wine and dig in! It is my pleasure to introduce you to my super sweet neighbor and friend Colleen Morano!

I came across this recipe while reading magazines at the gym (climbing the stairmaster while reading about food is a guilty pleasure of mine!) It looked fabulous!

I loved the idea of a delicious and comforting winter casserole, but with added healthy ingredients. Turkey Italian sausage replaces veal sausage or chorizo.  Super-foods such as Kale, onion, garlic and tomato really give the dish a punch of flavor! Replacing white semolina pasta with whole wheat pasta or even a quinoa pasta makes it more nutritious while still tasting fantastic. And of course the reward for me is the delicious bubbling cheese (just the lesser fat version!)

Once I made this kale pasta bake, I realized just how many years my family has been missing out on a fantastic alternative to our beloved baked ziti!



Baked Pasta with Kale

(From Woman's Day)

Makes 6 servings

1 pound whole-wheat penne or other short pasta

1 medium (about 1 pound) bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves cut into
2-inch pieces

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 20-ounce package Italian turkey sausage, casings removed

1 onion, chopped

Kosher salt/Pepper

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 cup 1% milk

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 14 1/2-oz can diced tomatoes, drained

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1 cup part-skim mozzarella, shredded

1/2 cup Parmesan, grated

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, adding the kale during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain the pasta and kale and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until beginning to brown, 5 to 6 minutes; transfer to a bowl.

Add the onion and remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet, season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stirring constantly, gradually add the milk. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes; stir in the crushed red pepper.

Add the sauce to the pasta and kale and toss to coat. Add the sausage, tomatoes, ricotta and mozzarella and toss to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to a 3-quart or 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and bake until heated through and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lisa Marinucci February 20, 2013 at 02:32 AM
This recipe sounds amazing!


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