Fusili with Sausage, Baby Kale, Peas, and Pesto

I started this recipe thinking I would basically make this Trader Joe’s hack I’ve been seeing all over the place…but then the store was out of gnocchi…and sausage…and I decided to use ingredients my beau prefers anyway.  What evolved was something completely different but just as easy, just as tasty, and – bonus – healthier.

Rotini with Sausage, Baby Kale, Peas, and Pesto1

You need very few ingredients to make this meal.  Six, to be exact.  First, start boiling your pasta.  I actually tried brown rice pasta for the first time in this recipe.  I’m not gluten free, but I’ve been trying to cut down on how much pasta I cook during the week since I eat soooo much of it.  I figured this would be slightly healthier and was happy to discover that it tasted no different than regular pasta.  Whether or not you use brown rice pasta, I don’t care; the important part is that you use a fusili shape because I think it works best with this sauce.

As your pasta is cooking, prepare everything else in a large sauce pan.  Brown 1 lb of ground pork with some salt and pepper.  As it finishes cooking, add in a bag of baby kale.  I’m not really into kale, but this baby kale is much more my speed.  It’s not quite as tough but still has a strong flavor.  Once the baby kale is good and wilted, add in some peas to warm through.

Rotini with Sausage, Baby Kale, Peas, and Pesto4

At this point, everything is cooked, so add the pasta to your pork and veggie mixture and stir in pesto sauce.  Top the whole thing with some parmesan (I used shaved parm because I had it on hand, but grated would have worked better.  If you’re feeling a bit more indulgent than I was, a tablespoon or two of heavy cream would be kinda heavenly here.  (Add when you stir in the pesto with grated parm over low heat.) . Even without the cream, this is a great meal – we both went back for seconds.

Rotini with Sausage, Baby Kale, Peas, and Pesto5