Sausage and Kale Pasta Bake

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Ohgoodgrief.

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Remember that movie What Lies Beneath with Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford? This casserole totally reminds me of that. Not in a psycho-thriller-murdery-ghost sort of way, but just when I look at that photo. What liiiiiies beneath all of that cheese? Let me tell you, bunnies. (is it okay if I call you bunny?)

First of all, oh wait I’m having a contraction! Just a stiffy B-Hicker. Okay it’s done.

Anyway, kale. A big ol’ bunch of lacinato kale. You can get whatever kind you want. Curly, anything goes. I keep calling it “lactinato” to crack myself up because that’s what I’m going to be here in a few months. A lactinato machine. Lactanato. Lactate-nato.

My male readers are like, “aaaaaand I’m out.”

Italian sausage. Because I’m forever devoted.

Red bell pepper! For health, sweetness and color.

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Pasta. I went the whole grain elbow route but you can do whatever makes you feel awesome inside.

And a cream sauce. But not just any cream sauce. A CHIPOTLAAAAY cream sauce.

You probably notice a strand of chipotle-flavored recipes on my blog from time to time. It’s because I buy a little can, open it, use 2, put it in the fridge, then catch the can giving me bedroom eyes every time I open the refrigerator door. It wins. Every time. Should I seek therapy?

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Yeah, that’s what lies beneath, puppies.

That’s. What. Lies. Beneath.

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It’s waiting for you.

Sausage and Kale Pasta Bake:

What it took for 4-6 (trillion):

* 1 pound Italian sausage (4 to 5 links), casings removed and torn into chunks
* 1 red bell pepper, diced
* 1 bunch dinosaur (lacinato) kale, chopped
* 13.25 oz whole grain elbow macaroni (I used Barilla, so that’s why it’s that weird amount, and not a straight up pound)
* 3 Tbs. butter
* 3 Tbs. flour
* 2 1/2 cups milk
* 2 chipotle peppers in their adobo sauce
* 8 oz block mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add the torn sausage and brown all over. Add the red bell pepper and kale; sauté another 3 minutes, until the kale wilts. Season with a tiny pinch of salt.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until right under al dente, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add cooked pasta to the sausage mix and toss to combine.

Also in the meantime, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until no longer floury, just a couple of minutes. Add the milk and whisk until creamy, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer cream sauce to a food processor and add the chipotle peppers with their adobo sauce. Pulse to combine. Taste that. Want more heat? Add another pepper! And a little salt if it needs it.

Add spicy cream sauce to the pasta/sausage mix. Toss to combine.

Transfer to a baking dish and cover with shredded mozzarella. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes, or until cheese is browning and bubbly.

Garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy being awesome.

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Also! I didn’t announce this last week because it was a rough week with my pup, but I have Ree’s cookbook winners!

They were: #645, Melissa who said, “I’ve never seen the movie but from the pictures I’ve seen, I’m guessing A Christmas Story”
# 151, Wendy who said, “I don’t know, but would love to win the book!”
# 625, Justine who said, “I have no idea, but I would love Ree’s cookbook!”

Congrats, ladies! We’ve already talked so you know you’ve won. The QUOTE, you guys is from Friends! It’s the Halloween episode where Monica makes Chandler wear that awful pink bunny costume because his favorite book as a child was the Velveteen Rabbit. A BROWN rabbit. Oh, those friends and their shenanigans.

Okay, now make some pasta already.

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36 Responses to Sausage and Kale Pasta Bake

  1. Jessica L. November 11, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    ugh. I want this, like immediately.

  2. Tieghan November 11, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    Dang. Want the whole casserole!

  3. DessertForTwo November 11, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    I want whatever lies beneath if you’re the one cooking!

  4. Rachel Cooks November 11, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    Oh man — I need this in my life asap.

  5. Cate @ Chez CateyLou November 11, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Wow – this looks amazing! I am all about kale – and mixed with sausage and pasta sounds like the best way to eat it!!

  6. Cookbook Queen November 11, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    Good things lie beneath. Unlike the movie, where nothing good was lying beneath. Neeeeeeeed.

  7. Meagan @ A Zesty Bite November 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    Oh I would like a big spoon of this sausage and kale pasta. Like NOW!

  8. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie November 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    I’ve never heard of dinosaur kale, only regular and baby kale. Is regular dinosaur? As for chipotle peppers is really does seem like recipes only call for one or two and then you are left with practically a full can and wondering what to make with it later. Great idea!

  9. cassie November 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    I had totally forgotten about that movie until now. Totally creepy. This pasta – totally not. LOVE.

  10. Karla @ Foodologie November 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    What do I have to do for you to invite me over for dinner?

    Also, can we talk about the fact that I’ve had the same can (transferred to a container) of chipotle peppers for about a year now… gross?

  11. Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps November 11, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Wowza. It has kale in it so it must healthy. Right? Right?! Right.

  12. Debi November 11, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    That looks amazing. I have not cooked much with Kale.

  13. Tracy | Peanut Butter And Onion November 12, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    I cannot wait to taste what lies beneath

  14. Jamie November 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    “Just a stiffy B-Hicker” hahahahaha! Oh, the recipe looks good too. = )

  15. Lisa November 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    I made this last night at 9pm on a whim and was standing in my kitchen, eating it with a giant spoon straight out of the oven. It was so easy, and made a great lunch today! Had never cooked with those peppers before — loved the heat in the sauce!

  16. Megan {Country Cleaver} November 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    I want what lies beneath! Or a puppy. A puppy covered in cheese? Whatever – just give me a spoon.

    Also – hugs to the pup!! What’s a matter with that sweet face!?

  17. Julie @ Table for Two November 13, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    omggggg. loveeeee thissss!

  18. Heather November 13, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    I made this for my husband and he loved it kale and all! I did all one link of chorizo just for extra spice for him. It is fantastic Thank you!

  19. Judy November 13, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    We had this for dinner tonight. Hubby made it, so it had to be easy. The adults liked it… our 3 teens weren’t wildly crazy about it, but overall it was a winner in my book and we will make again. Maybe a touch on the spicy side because he used 2-3 tablespoons of pureed chipotle in adobe. I love that it had kale in it. We have an abundance in the garden still and it’s nice to use something home grown and feel somewhat healthy doing it. :-)

  20. Melody November 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    Hard to believe I’ve just discovered kale at the age of 57, but there you have it. That and the chipotle means this is now on next week’s menu!

    Have to say I laughed my way all the way through this particular blog page. Love your writing and hope to love your recipes!

  21. Kevin (Closet Cooking) November 14, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    This would be so good and I like the use of the kale!

  22. Heather November 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    I generally love all your pasta bakes and this one is no exception. Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious. A bit of heat but not over the top. Yum! Thanks for sharing.

  23. dervla @ the curator November 20, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

    i struggle with kale, like really struggle. You’ve just helped me work it in to my dinners, thank you!

  24. Danielle November 21, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    In the oven right now and I already know it will be delicious based on the taste texting I’ve been doing! I added some garlic and mushrooms and decreased the sausage. Can’t wait for the final result. :)

  25. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious November 21, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    I NEEEEEED this man!

  26. Nutmeg Nanny November 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Mouth watering!!! This pasta bake is perfection, I love it!!

  27. Andrea December 4, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Hmm… this looks pretty darn fantastic. I have a bag of frozen chopped kale that I randomly bought thinking eventually I’d run across a recipe that could use it. So, Bev, when could I use it here? Should I put it in after browning the sausage?

    Thanks!

  28. Rachel December 8, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    Just made this tonight for my boyfriend and myself. It was a smash hit, great recipe!

  29. plasterer bristol December 9, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Yummy, can’t beat a good sausage casserole, one of my favorite meals….Thanks for sharing…

    Simon

  30. Two Red Bowls December 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Oh my goodness. This looks too good for words. I am an absolute baked pasta FIEND and was just mentioning to a friend today that I wanted to find another version to try. I love that this incorporates healthy elements — pasta bakes are also one of my favorite things to make and freeze portions of for work, but I don’t want to be falling asleep at my desk post-lunch every day. This looks like the perfect casserole to try next. And, you made me laugh out loud with “lactate-nato” — wishing you all the best with your little one!!!

  31. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl January 26, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    I made this tonight with almond milk, no cheese and some peppers that I canned from the summer and it was delicious! Thank you!

  32. Primogen February 27, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    This was a great recipe and I’m going to try it again tomorrow but I’m going to use lean ground beef instead of Italian Sausage. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine just the way it is but I wanted to see what it would be like with ground beef. Will report back on the results.

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