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Sexy Sausage and Vegetable Pasta


copyright CarnalDish


  • 8oz. hot Italian sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 large shallots, chopped (about 1 handful)
  • 2 1/2 cups kale, torn into large bite-sized pieces (from about 3 large stalks)
  • 2 to 3 cups baby spinach, loosely packed
  • 1 cup asparagus, chopped (about 5 to 6 spears, feel free to use more if desired)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • juice from one lemon (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • pinch of fennel seed (optional)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper, plus more if needed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 box dried pasta (bowtie, penne, rigatoni, ziti, or corkscrew shapes work fine), cooked al dente in salted water
  • 1/3 cup reserved pasta water, just in case you need it to moisten the dish
  • 2/3 cup Parmegiana-Reggiano cheese, plus more to garnish
  • flat leaf parsley to garnish


  1. Prepare all of your vegetables by washing them as needed.

For the kale:

  1. clean the kale by soaking it in a bowl of cold water for just a few minutes to loosen all of the dirt. Rinse thoroughly and roll each stalk of kale into a paper towel to dry.

For the asparagus:

  1. rinse the asparagus with cold water and blot dry with a paper towel. line 5 to 6 spears together and chop off and discard the last 2 inches of each stalk, they’re usually the dead and bitter. Chop the asparagus into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

For the broccoli:

  1. rinse the broccoli thoroughly under cold water to remove any loose dirt. Chop off the large stalk from the head of the broccoli, then strip the florets by hand.

For the baby spinach:

  1. rinse thoroughly with water if needed, then pat dry with paper towels.

For the pasta:

  1. Try your best to time this just right so the pasta is done the moment the meat/vegetable mixture is done. I started boiling my water around the time I added the mushrooms, and it turned out perfectly. You could always boil and drain your pasta in advance, and coat with a little oil to keep it moist and from sticking together and set aside while you cook the main part of the dish. Don’t boil the pasta and let it sit in the hot water after it’s done, because it will continue to cook and get mushy. You want it to be al-dente.


  1. In a large 11 or 12-inch skillet, head 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until shimmering and you start to see whisps of smoke. Add the Italian sausage and break into bite sized pieces with a wooden spoon. Brown the sausage for about 3 minutes, then add the crushed red pepper and fennel seed, if using. Continue to brown until the sausage starts to caramelize around the edges, but make sure it doesn’t burn. Add the shallots and allow those to cook down just until softened, about 1 minute, continuously stirring with the wooden spoon to avoid anything burning. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to bring out their flavors. Cook the mushrooms with the sausage, crushed red pepper, fennel, and shallots for about 4 minutes. At this point, you should have a nice brown layer of flavor stuck to the bottom of your skillet.
  2. Quickly lift the skillet off the heat and de-glaze the pan with the white wine. Set the skillet back on the heat and quickly stir up the delicious brown bits from the bottom of the pan. The wine will evaporate quickly and the sausage and mushrooms will soak up its wonderful flavor, about 2 minutes. Add the kale, broccoli, and asparagus and toss with the sausage, mushrooms and shallots until desired tenderness, about 3 to 6 minutes. Taste it, adjust seasoning if need be. When the vegetables are firm but tender, reduce the heat to low and add the butter and garlic. Cook the garlic for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Add the spinach and cherry tomatoes and allow the spinach to wilt and the cherry tomatoes to heat thru, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the juice of one lemon, and stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and gently toss everything together so that it’s coated evenly. Your entire dish shouldn’t be dry, but just in case it is, add one more tablespoon of olive oil and a little of the reserved pasta water if needed. The dish should be moist, but not runny or too “saucey”. Remove from heat and add as much or as little cheese as you’d like. I used about 2/3 cup of cheese. Taste everything together and season as needed. Toss gently and serve immediately. Garnish with more cheese and fresh parsley if desired.
  4. Enjoy.
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
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