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Creamy Parmesan, Sausage, and Kale Penne

This Creamy Parmesan Sausage and Kale Pasta is a comforting meal that comes together in less than 30 minutes. 

Creamy Parmesan, Sausage, and Kale Penne |

It’s the simple things.

Thick woolly slippers.

An empty dishwasher.

Peeling off the sticker on that Kohl’s advertisement and revealing the coveted 30% off coupon.

Sushi on the living room floor.

The frantic tail wags of a dog so thrilled just to see you walk through the door.

Red box movies.

A creamy bowl of pasta.

This is one of the most rewarding things about cooking. Sure, it’s great to spend hours preparing an elaborate feast, but when you can spend 30 minutes in the kitchen and come out with something rich and satisfying, that’s true success.

Creamy Parmesan, Kale, and Sausage Pasta |

This is one of those successes. It takes about 20 minutes to make this dish, and about 2 seconds to realize it’s going to become a regular on your dinner rotation for the winter.  The heft and slight bitterness of kale blends well with the creamy sauce. And the sausage? Well, sausage just makes everything better.

The ingredient list for this dish is short, so make each one really great. Get some good quality Parmesan, fresh lemon juice, your favorite Italian sausage. I like Bob Evan’s Italian sausage, but if you’re not a friend of fennel you may prefer a regular breakfast sausage.

Creamy Parmesan, Kale, and Sausage Pasta |

Give yourself 20 minutes to make this satisfying dish, and you’ll be left with plenty of time to enjoy all the other slightly more complicated pleasures of life.

Creamy Sausage and Kale Penne

Prep Time 5 minsPrep Time
Cook Time 20 minsCook Time
Total Time 25 mins Total Time
Yields 4

Kale, Italian sausage, and penne are tossed in a simple cream and Parmesan sauce for a super quick and satisfying weeknight meal.


  • 1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • About 6 large kale leaves, torn from the rib and roughly chopped
  • Splash lemon juice
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz. penne pasta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and pepper and cook until sausage is browned and pepper is softened, about 7 minutes. Add half and half to skillet and let cook down until reduced by about half, or approximately another 7 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, start a pot of water to boil for the penne. Cook according to package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of pasta water when draining. Once drained, return pasta to the pot and toss with a teaspoon of olive oil.
  3. Add kale to the sausage mixture and let wilt. Add lemon juice and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine. Add penne and cheese to the skillet and toss. If sauce is too thick, add pasta water to thin it out and make it spread. Serve warm with good crusty bread and a side salad!


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 Recipe adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray

{ 28 comments… add one }

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  • Ruthy November 5, 2013, 12:44 PM

    Oh, kale. I don’t know how I would get through the winter without it! This pasta looks like the best quick & easy dinner idea ever (I mean, sausage, hello).
    PS- I voted! Good luck, girl!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood November 6, 2013, 11:13 AM

      Thanks so much Ruthy! Also, I think I may just have to do a tribute to sausage on the blog one day. It’s got so much flavor, it seriously feels like I’m cheating when I cook with it. Seasoning isn’t even needed.

  • littleredkitchen November 5, 2013, 8:18 PM

    This is the perfect winter meal and I love one pot dishes that incorporate a green. Means no need to worry about fixing up some sort of veg.

  • Jessica_AKitchenAddiction November 6, 2013, 10:13 AM

    There are few things more comforting on a chilly evening that a bowl of creamy pasta! Love this!

  • Joanne (eats well with others) November 7, 2013, 8:09 AM

    This is definitely my kind of pasta dish! Total comfort food. Kale and cream sauces were meant for each other!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood November 7, 2013, 7:03 PM

      Totally…I’m going to start putting kale on ALL THE THINGS. Until I get sick of it…then it’s on to chard! 🙂

  • Nancy November 7, 2013, 9:03 PM

    Ahhhh, quick ‘n easy, two of my favourite English words! This looks delicious, Courtney. I could eat pasta every day if my waistline would cooperate with me.

  • Sarah | The Sugar Hit November 7, 2013, 9:08 PM

    This looks DELICIOUS. I love fennel sausage, and with that cheese and some pasta, that’s perfection.

  • Erin@WellPlated November 7, 2013, 11:38 PM

    Sausage makes everything better <—laughing out loud because I can cook literally ANYTHING throw sausage on it, and the hubs will eat it. I bet it's bonkers good in this creamy dish!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood November 8, 2013, 7:01 PM

      I know…I always feel like I’m cheating when I use it, because it just adds so much flavor you don’t really need anything else. 🙂

  • supperforasteal November 8, 2013, 6:12 PM

    This looks so good! I think kale might be one of my favorite ingredients.

  • Jessica Fiorillo November 10, 2013, 10:35 PM

    I just made a spinach artichoke dip with kale tonight. I agree, kale makes everything better 🙂

  • Cassie | Bake Your Day November 11, 2013, 12:54 PM

    Really, really love this, Courtney! So comforting!

  • CrunchyCreamySw November 11, 2013, 2:47 PM

    I love penne pasta! This dish sounds fabulous!

  • Karen @ The Food Charlatan November 11, 2013, 8:22 PM

    This looks so perfect Courtney! Seriously…I want some right now. And the photos are gorgeous, as usual. Did you make the weathered board in the background? You would. It’s awesome!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood November 12, 2013, 12:12 PM

      Thanks so much Karen. And, uhhh…funny story about this board. I bought all this cheapo plywood to make my own photo backgrounds and took it out to my parent’s farmhouse to assemble. We get halfway through the project, where I’m trying to make this new wood look old and vintage, and my mom goes, “Hey, I think we might have some old wood boards out in the barn.” Sure enough, we go out back, and there was this beauty just as scruffy and scratched up and blue and PERFECT as ever. So long story short, no, I didn’t make it. 🙂

      • Karen @ The Food Charlatan November 12, 2013, 1:28 PM

        No way! That is too good to be true! Making some boards that look like this has been on my to-do list for like…a year and a half. You’ve inspired me! I’m going to do it! Or at least I’m going to make friends with people who have an old barn. Can I have your parent’s number? lol

  • Arnisha Milkchocolate Holland December 19, 2013, 6:35 PM

    I am making this right now, and it smells so yummy.

  • Cut 'N Clean Greens October 1, 2014, 7:32 PM

    Serious comfort food, and so fast and easy. Well done! Will be on our dinner table later this week, for sure.

    We’re going to link to this on our social media so everyone can see how you made it .

    –Your friendly Southern Calif. farmers at Cut ‘N Clean Greens

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood October 3, 2014, 7:39 AM

      Thanks so much! It definitely is serious comfort food. It’s a go to for us on busy nights.

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