Sausage and Cavolo Nero Pasta, a super easy and flavour-packed recipe that's perfect any day of the week. Made with Tuscan kale (Cavolo Nero), Italian sausage, white wine and a sprinkling of chilli flakes.
This sausage and cavolo nero pasta has so much flavour, it's got white wine in there, juicy Italian sausages, my favourite Tuscan kale (so good for you), shallots, chilli flakes and fennel seeds!
So delicious and so easy, it's perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or relaxed weekend in. Serve it topped with lots of Parmigiano Reggiano, Buon Appetito!
See the recipe below including notes on ingredients, step by step photos, tips, variations and a video tutorial. For the full printable recipe scroll to the bottom or click the recipe link below
Ingredients - what you need and substitutions
- Pasta - short pasta works best for this sauce, we used Rigatoni but you could use Penne, Casarecce, Mezze Maniche or whatever short shape you like.
- Sausage - make sure to use good quality sausages with a high percentage of pork (90%+).
- Shallots - you can use white or red onion if you don't have shallots.
- Fennel seeds and chilli flakes - this combo of spices is delicious with sausage and kale but feel free to leave them out or switch them for something else.
- Cavolo Nero - also known as Tuscan kale, if you can't find it then any kale variety will do.
- White wine - use a dry white wine such as Vermentino, Grecco di Tuffo or Orvieto. Pino Grigio will also work.
- Stock - we used chicken stock but you can also use vegetable stock, just make sure to use low sodium stock.
Step by step recipe photos
- Boil the water - bring a large pot of salted water to a boil so it's ready for when you need to add the pasta.
- Prepare your ingredients - finely slice the shallot, roughly chop the cavolo nero and prepare the stock. Doing this before starting makes the cooking process so much easier!
This recipe is so easy and is ready in just a few simple steps. Brown the sausage meat, soften the shallots with spices, reduce the wine, simmer the stock and cavolo nero then add the pasta.
It's as easy as that! See the step by step photos below that take you through the recipe visually or scroll for the full printable recipe and our helpful video tutorial.
Top tips and recipe FAQs
- Prepping the kale - cut the Cavolo Nero (kale) into medium sized pieces and remove any huge stalks so it cooks evenly.
- Cooking the kale - you need to cover the pan with a lid so the kale steams and becomes tender, if you don't have a lid then I recommend adding the kale to the pasta water instead (about 3 minutes after adding the pasta).
Yes, remove the sausage and use vegetable stock for a delicious, meat-free version.
You don't but I highly recommend you do for flavour, if you'd rather not then just skip it you don't need to replace it with anything.
Yes, leftovers reheat really well. You'll need to add a small splash of water (1-2 tablespoons) then reheat it on the stove until hot.
More delicious pasta recipes to try
- Pasta al Limone (Creamy Lemon Pasta)
- Pasta Alla Norma (Eggplant Pasta)
- Pasta alla Boscaiola (Sausage & Mushroom)
- Sausage Pasta Bake - Spicy and Creamy
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Sausage and Cavolo Nero Pasta
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the ingredients as stated above (finely slice the shallot, roughly chop the cavolo nero and prepare the stock).
- Remove the sausages from their casing and brown in a large frying pan or skillet breaking them up with the side of a wooden spoon.
- Once browned, add the shallots to the sausage along with the chilli flakes and fennel seeds and saute for a few minutes until soft.
- Once soften, add the white wine and reduce by half (1-2 minutes). Add the cavolo nero and stock and cover with a lid for 7-8 minutes.
- At this point, add the pasta to the salted boiling water and cook until al dente (about 8 minutes depending on the brand).
- After 7-8 minutes, uncover the pasta sauce and add ⅓ cup of pasta water (80ml) and let it simmer. Once the pasta is ready add the pasta to the sauce with the parmesan, Stir everything together for 1-2 minutes until the pasta is coated in the sauce, serve.
- Stock - you can use chicken or vegetable stock (make sure to use low sodium).
- Wine - use an Italian white wine if possible such as Pinot Grigio, Vermentino, Grecco di Tuffo or Orvieto. If you don't want to use alcohol you can skip it but it does add a lot of flavour.
- Pasta - any short pasta shape will work well.
- Leftovers and storage - leftovers will keep well in the fridge for 1-2 days and can be reheated on the stove. Add a small splash of water to help loosen the sauce.
- I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
- When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
- All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
- All recipes are tested and developed using a fan (convection) oven
- Find out more about how nutrition is calculated.
- Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples.
- You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking.