Friday, February 18, 2011

Pasta with Kale, White Beans, and Turkey Sausage

I don't believe in "dieting."

Don't get me wrong... I've been on my fair share of diets before, and all of them seemed to be very effective while I was on them.

But that's the thing - who can stick to a crazy restrictive diet? Not this food-lover, for sure. Inevitably we all fall off the bandwagon and go back to our old eating habits and wind up weighing the same if not more than we did before we started the stupid diet.

I do, on the other hand, believe in eating well.

Yes, I'd like to be skinny for my wedding, but I'm not going to crash-diet to do it. I'm ready to find a way of eating that provides a healthy balance of nourishment and pleasure. I, like most of us, already know what kinds of foods I should be eating - more veggies, fruits, and whole grains, and less of the fatty and sugary stuff. Lucky for me, I actually really like fruits, veggies, and whole grains, and I'd love to find ways to incorporate more of these into my meals. Most research indicates that preparing meals at home is the healthiest way to eat too, and I'm already doing that. So... I already know how to eat healthier. I already know how to cook. All I need is someone to show me how to cook healthier.

Why hello, Ellie. :)

I've been a fan of Ellie Krieger for a while. I love her food network show, and I love the fact that she's a registered dietitian. But what I love most about her is her holistic approach to eating. It's not about counting calories or banning certain foods with Ellie - it's about eating real food that is as enjoyable as it is nutritious. Basically - it's about eating the way we were intended to eat.

So, when Dane bought me her cookbook (The Food You Crave) for Valentine's Day, I was very, very excited. So much so that I sat down to bookmark the recipes I wanted to try...

...and wound up bookmarking almost the entire book. :)

This pasta recipe is one of the first I've tried out of this cookbook, and it lived up to every expectation I had. I had to make a few changes based on what I could find at my grocery store, but it still turned out every bit as delicious as I had hoped! I couldn't find Italian chicken sausage or escarole like the recipe called for... so I substituted low-fat turkey breakfast sausage with just a touch of Italian seasoning, and kale instead. I was a little wary at first that 6 ounces of sausage might not be enough meat for four servings - especially the way my boy likes to eat - , but even such a small amount added so much flavor that I certainly didn't miss it. The combination of onion, garlic, sage, sausage, and chicken broth created this light little sauce that made this dish truly to die for. If this is how the whole book is, I can't wait to try more!

Pasta with Kale, White Beans, and Turkey Sausage
adapted from The Food You Crave

12 ounces whole wheat bow-tie (or other shape) pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces uncooked low-fat turkey sausage
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 bunch kale, chopped (about 6-8 cups)
1 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans (preferably no sodium), drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in a large, deep saute pan (I used my wok). Add the onion and cook, stirring a few times, until softed (about 3-5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Stir in the sausage and cook until heated through and browned (about 4 minutes). Add the kale and cook until wilted (3-4 minutes). Add the beans, 1 cup of the broth, the sage, and red pepper and summer until the mixture is heated through and liquid is lightly reduced.
3. Drain the pasta, add it to the sausage-bean mixture, and toss well, loosening with the remaining 1/2 cup broth if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between 4 pasta bowls, top with Parmesan, and serve!

1 comment:

  1. Haha, I know that feeling well when I bookmark every other page in a new cookbook! That kale recipe looks delicious, and the whole cookbook definitely sounds like something I would like. thanks for sharing!


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