We recently rediscovered kale. I used to buy it all the time but I was the only one eating it, so I switched mainly to baby spinach. Then my mom brought over half of what had to be the largest bunch of kale ever sold. Almost as an afterthought, I tossed a pile of it on the sheet pan when making Roasted Sausage and Veggies with Rigatoni. Lilly went wild for the stuff.
Suddenly, she’s begging me to add roasted kale to everything. Making sheet pan chicken? “Add some kale, mom!” Italian Wedding Soup? “Is there any kale in this?” Big bowl of salad? “Mom, did you roast any kale for me to put on top?” She’s nearly six now and her appreciation for new foods has been rapidly increasing. Even so, her kale revelation caught me off guard (not a complaint!!).
And this is the amazing meal that started it all: Roasted Sausage and Veggies with Rigatoni. In addition to the kale, this hearty dish features roasted cauliflower (my personal favorite), garlic and store-bought chicken-apple sausage. You throw it all on a sheet pan and let it bake until its golden and gorgeous. Honestly, you could make this a true one-pan dinner and a pretty solid meal just serving the sausage and veggies as-is. But it’s even more delicious served over rigatoni. So, its a two-pan dinner (which doesn’t have quite the same ring to it).
While the veggies are baking, start a pot of water boiling for the rigatoni. Once the pasta is cooked set aside a couple of cups of the cooking water before you drain the pasta. Then throw the pasta back in the pot, add in some of that reserved cooking water, a little butter and a few handfuls of parmesan cheese. Toss in the sausage and veggies and season with salt and pepper (a little red pepper if you’re feeling spicy). Thats it. Elegant, hearty and totally delicious. And you only needed two pans to get there.
Plus, your kid might become a total kale junky in the process.
Roasted Sausage and Veggies with Rigatoni
1 lb. cauliflower florets
3 cloves garlic, skins removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 store-bought Chicken Apple Sausages (we like Adelle’s), cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups kale, center ribs removed and roughly chopped
1 lb. dry rigatoni pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss cauliflower and garlic cloves with olive oil on sheet pan. Add sausage pieces. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally until cauliflower and sausage are golden brown.
- Meanwhile, fill a pot with water and generously season with salt. Boil water over high heat. When water comes to a boil add the rigatoni and cook according to package instructions, draining one minute before instructions indication.
- Before draining pasta, scoop about 2 cups of the pasta water and set aside.
- Once vegetables and sausage are cooked, add kale directly on top of the sheet pan, return to oven and bake for about 5 minutes more, until kale is bright green and soft and starts to crisp at the corners.
- Return cooked pasta to the cooking pot. Add about 1 cup of water, butter and a 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Cook over low heat, tossing constantly until butter and cheese melt and start to create a sauce on the pasta. Add additional cooking water and another 1/4 cup of cheese. Add vegetables and sausage from sheet pan and continue tossing until the veggies are coated with the parmesan sauce. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with remaining parmesan cheese on top.