Week 35 – Italian Sausage and Kale Baked Pasta

Another crazy week!  Where does time go?  And how is everything going to get done by April 15??  Highlight of the work week was Friday – I went to NYC for meetings at the Google office all day.  In case you haven’t seen, PwC is going google, and I’m on a team that has given feedback during the process.  On Friday we were invited to the Google offices for an innovation lab.  We basically discussed some pain points in our daily lives at work and tried to come up with Google-enabled solutions.  The group of about 20 was split into 4 teams to do this and my team’s idea won, no big deal.  It was an exhausting and packed day, but so great to be able to get our ideas out there and to be encouraged to come up with ideas for solutions that will greatly improve the way we do work.

Due to the timing of my work I worked on Sunday this weekend, so Saturday was a relaxing day with Matt.  Much needed quality time and apartment cleaning (and Easter decorating!) 🙂

Our new recipe for the week was quite delicious!  We kept is going with the Kale this week since we had leftovers from the casserole on Sunday (much to Matt’s over-exaggerated distaste).  We did a repeat recipe of the Zuppa Toscana Soup on Monday and then made this casserole with the leftovers from that on Saturday.  We just did a half batch, and it was plenty for a night and leftovers!

Italian Sausage and Kale Baked Pasta (Recipe from here)

Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces ziti (or any pasta shape)
  • 1 lb. ground Italian sausage (I strongly recommend using “spicy” Italian sausage)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large handfuls roughly-chopped kale leaves, stems removed
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: Sun Dried Tomatoes, about ½ cup chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat a large stockpot full of well-salted water for the pasta.
  2. In a (separate) large skillet, sauté the Italian sausage over medium-high heat until browned (about 8-10 minutes), breaking the sausage up with a spoon into bite-sized pieces while cooking.
  3. When the sausage has browned, add in the minced garlic (and sun dried tomatoes, if desired) and sauté for 1-2 additional minutes or until the garlic is fragrant. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
  4. While the sausage is browning, cook the pasta al dente in the stockpot of boiling water according to package instructions. Drain.
  5. Return pasta to the stockpot and add the sausage, garlic (and tomatoes) and kale. Gently toss with a little olive oil to combine until the kale is dark green and slightly wilted.
  6. Pour half of the pasta into a greased 11×7-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of cheese. Layer the remaining half of the pasta evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and just barely starts to turn golden. Remove and serve immediately, sprinkled with parmesan or red pepper flakes if desired.

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