Healthy, comforting, utterly delicious - that's today's Shell Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale. The sauce is loaded with a salty homemade Chicken Italian Sausage flavored with garlic and fennel. Kale is cooked in the flavorful sauce so it wilts down and melds into the backdrop so perfectly. Hearty shell pasta perfectly holds the creamy parmesan cheesy sauce in each shell cup. Parmesan on top is the salty and nutty finish! #healthypasta #healthyitalian #familydinner #dinnerideas
Mince the garlic, chop the parsley, and measure out the fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Then add all to the ground chicken in a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine. Cover the bowl and store in the fridge until ready to cook.
Dice the onion and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to cook.
Clean the kale and dry it in a clean towel. Then rough chop it into bite-size pieces. Store the kale in the fridge with a cool damp towel on top until ready to cook.
Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Once the pasta water is boiling, add a splash of Olive Oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and stir so that it doesn't stick it itself. Boil the pasta until al dente. Remove 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Leave the pasta in the strainer until the sauce is ready.
To a preheated large pan/skillet, add a tsp of Olive Oil and then add the Italian Sausage, breaking it up with a spatula or spoon into small bite-size pieces. Let it sit and sear for about 4-5 minutes. Then stir so that the other sides sear. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until no pieces are pink and look fully cooked through. Remove to a plate.
Add another tsp of Olive Oil if needed, then add the onions and garlic. Stir so they do not burn. Cook on medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the kale, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
While the kale begins to cook, make the slurry by adding the 2 tbsp of cornstarch to the milk and stirring until dissolved.
Add the chicken broth and the milk slurry to the pan. As the sauce heats up, it will start to thicken, so be sure to stir every couple minutes as this happens to prevent clumping. Once the liquid has thickened a little, about 4-5 minutes (note, it will not be very thick, just a little bit thicker than it was), add the sausage back to the pan.
Test the Kale, if it needs to cook more, cover and let cook for another few minutes. If the Kale is cooked to your liking, add the cooked pasta, 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan Cheese. Mix to combine. If needed, you can add more of the pasta water to thin out the sauce.
Serve the pasta garnishing with more Parmesan Cheese.