*Let me begin by admitting that the dish in the attached photo was made with store-bought gnocchi. I was in a rush that evening and wanted dinner on the table, so feel free to use the store bought kind. I won’t judge. Gnocchi will be in the refrigerated aisle with the fresh pastas, but I’m sure this would be good with standard dried penne as well (which can be purchased whole wheat for an extra healthy kick). I suggest the dish with gnocchi, though, and am including an easy recipe for that as well.
2 large starchy potatoes (Idaho or Russet).
*It’s important you use mashing potatoes for this. The sturdier/waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold, red, or new potatoes will make the pasta too heavy.
2 cups of flour
1 egg, lightly beaten.
Peel, cut, and cook the potatoes just as if you are going to mash them. Then place in a food processor with the flour for a few pulses until mixed. Then add the egg and pulse until it forms a ball. Dump the ball out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a long strand about an inch wide. Then cut down the strand at ½ inch intervals on the diagonal. Your gnocchi are done.
*Or, as I said before and sometimes do, go to the store and buy some pre-made gnocchi. Have a glass of wine instead of bothering with this step. Your choice.
1 pound turkey Italian sausage links, cut into thin slices.*
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic (or—if you’re me—the entire bulb), thinly sliced**
½ cup dry white wine (like a Chardonnay)
½ cup chicken stock
1 bunch of Kale, rinsed, stems removed, and chopped into 1 inch pieces.***
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese.****
*If you are under 30 and/or consider yourself immune to myriad cardiovascular diseases, feel free to use regular pork sausage. In the context of this meal, however, there is absolutely no sacrifice in flavor when the turkey option is taken. The turkey sausage is about half the calories and 1/3 of the fat and cholesterol, so it really isn’t worth it to sacrifice the healthier option in my opinion.
**Do not. I repeat. DO NOT use that jarred garlic shit. It is not worth it. Fresh garlic is cheaper and tastes far superior. The jarred stuff will completely ruin this recipe, and I will judge you and ridicule you behind your back if you take this short cut. Don’t be nasty. Use the real thing.
***I have no idea how many cups or ounces this is. It’s the standard bunch they sell at the local Safeway or Piggly Wiggly or what have you. It’s about the size of your head. It’s head-sized. When removing the stems, I actually cut up into the leaf in a V pattern, thus removing most of the tough stem but leaving the leaves as is. For those of you unaccustomed to cooking with kale or spinach or any kind of leafy green, be aware that it will look like a lot. Don’t fear. It will cook down a great deal.
****Remember what I said above about garlic? That goes quadruple for parmesan cheese. Mom, if you’re reading this, I love you very dearly. But that green can fake parm cheese shit you fed us as kids smells like vomit. It tastes like it too. Invest in some fresh parmesan cheese and grate it yourself. One block of it will last forever, and it tastes infinitely better.
Now that you know the ingredients and have been warned about substitutions, we are ready to begin. I hope you hadn’t jumped ahead and cooked the pasta already. I didn’t give my permission to do so yet, and your dinner will now be gross. Here goes. It is super-fast and easy.
*Cook the sausage on medium high heat in a large skillet until crispy, then set aside onto a paper-towel to soak up the excess fat. If you want to go for uber-healthy, pour out the fat from the pan before sautéing the garlic. But you will lose some flavor if you do this. Your choice/waistline. Add the olive oil and swirl it around the pan. Add the sliced garlic and sauté until aromatic, about 1-2 minutes. Then add the wine, (if your drunk ass hasn’t poured it all down your pie-hole yet. If you are a big drunk and the wine is gone already, just move forward with ¾ cup of chicken stock instead. And know that I am judging you).
The wine will cook off in 1-2 minutes and reduce down to a couple of tablespoons. Now add the ½ cup of chicken stock and swirl everything around a bit. Add the kale, stir again, and cover. Reduce heat to medium low and let everything steam for around 15-20 minutes. Cooking times may vary according to your elevation, weather, and the fact that I did not pay attention to how long it took until the kale leaves were cooked. Just pay attention and check occasionally. When it’s wilted a bit but still has some bite, it’s done.
While the kale is cooking, cook the gnocchi. Bring lightly salted water to a rapid boil in a stock pot. Dump the gnocchi in and watch. They will gradually rise to the surface of the water. When they do, they’re done. This will only take 4-5 minutes. Drain the gnocchi and set aside.
When the kale is tender, add the sausage back to the pan. Add gnocchi. Toss everything until heated through. Then toss in a large bowl with the ¼ cup parmesan cheese THAT YOU JUST GRATED AND DID NOT POUR OUT OF A NASTY ASS GREEN CAN.
*Serves 4 regular people, 2 people carb loading for a marathon, or 1 Oprah.