Fettuccine with Kale, Chickpeas and Turkey Sausage

I’ll be the first to come out and say that I don’t really like kale.

I’ve tried, being that it’s the sexy green of the moment, but I can’t get past the tough texture and dirt-like flavor. This is why I was surprised when I found myself buying a huge bunch of it at the grocery store with no idea what I would cook. All I knew was that it was fresh and begging to be eaten.

So I ate it. But first I sautéed it with onion, garlic and spicy sausage, because if there’s such a thing as too healthy, kale is it.

This pasta is easy, quick and totally delicious, and also very much open to interpretation. Feel free to add more kale and cut out the chickpeas, or deglaze the pan with chicken stock instead of white wine. However, it doesn’t reheat especially well, so only make as much as you’ll eat in one night.

Fettuccine with Kale, Chickpeas and Turkey Sausage
Serves 3-4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound hot turkey or pork sausage, casings discarded and sausage crumbled
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound dried egg fettuccine
  • 1/2 pound kale, tough stems and center ribs discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)


1. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat. Cook sausage, garlic and onion, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Cook pasta in boiling salted water, uncovered, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain pasta.

3. While pasta is cooking, add kale and chickpeas to sausage in skillet and sauté, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Deglaze with white wine, stirring and scraping up anything from bottom of skillet.

4. Add pasta and reserved pasta water, and stir in cheese. Add crushed red pepper flakes to taste and garnish with a lemon wedge and more cheese. Serve immediately.