Recipe: Kale & Sausage Penne with Lemon Cream Sauce

You’ve heard of hoarders? Well… I hoard recipes. I’ve been clipping, copying, and printing recipes for years creating unorganized masses of paper scraps stashed away in bins. Some, clipped long ago, have moved as many as nine times. Just before the last move, I’d had enough and cleaned out my biggest mess, throwing out well over half. Those that remain will be cooked THIS YEAR, blogged if they’re edible, then tossed away BEFORE THE NEXT MOVE. See that? In all caps? That’s hungry determination. :)

So I printed this while going through my kale stage living in Maryland, in November of 2012. It only took 3+ years to try it. Too bad… it’s a keeper.

Found at, one of my go-to sources for something yummy, they use penne which is probably amazing. I didn’t have penne, so used whole wheat spaghetti noodles which isn’t as visually appealing, but still tastes amazing. The flavors in the sauce are strong enough to overpower that earthiness of the pasta that my girls don’t always love.


Kale & Sausage Penne with Lemon Cream Sauce

Serves 6-8


  • 14 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casing removed (I used hot Italian sausage and it was GOOD!)
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 12 cups half and half
  • 13 cup grated Parmesan
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (Didn’t use this)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. dried penne pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti)
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped parsley, for garnish (left this out)


  1. In a 6-qt saucepan over medium-high heat cook the sausage using a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces until browned, 16 to 18 minutes. Drain the fat, remove the sausage, and set it aside.
  2. Heat oil in the same saucepan. Add garlic, onion and red chile flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add sausage and kale, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the kale is wilted, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add half and half and bring to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally until reduced by a third, 7 to 8 minutes.
  4. Stir in Parmesan, lemon juice and zest, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Set aside and keep warm.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add penne (or your choice of pasta) and cook, stirring occasionally until al dente, 8 to 9 minutes. Drain, reserving 14 cup cooking water*; add both pasta and water to reserved sauce and cook about 5 minutes more. Serve garnished with parsley.

*I didn’t add the cooking water which meant that my sauce was thick, but it was good. I’d add the water slowly until your desired consistency is reached.


About Tiffany

I'm eclectic. Sometimes that's a good thing because I can do bits of everything. Sometimes it's aggravating because I get distracted by so many amazing things. Mostly, I love photography and family, travel and writing, cooking, reading, art, and coffee. Sundays are church days to regroup and refocus. God's in charge here.

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