Pasta with Sausage, Lentils, and Kale

After a brief hiatus for my sister’s wedding festivities (which were THE BOMB), it’s back to cooking and tumblring!

This recipe is from Big Girls, Small Kitchen, with some very slight adaptations based on what was in my pantry.

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Whole Wheat Spirals with Merguez Sausage, Lentils & Kale
Serves 4

You can use any kind of sausage you please, from spicy Italian to any kind of chicken sausage. You can easily make this ahead, and leftovers are wonderful lunches. If you don’t soak the lentils, cooking time will be more like 30 minutes. [I used spicy Italian because it’s what I had. I didn’t soak the lentils over night, so it did take more like 30 minutes to cook and I had to add more water than she suggests. I just kept making sure the lentils had some water cover as they simmered.]

Ingredients
1 cup black lentils, soaked overnight
Salt
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 links merguez sausage, casing removed and broken into 1 ½-inch chunks
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch lacinato kale, ribs removed and cut into bite-sized pieces (I have no idea what lacinato kale is…I just used the kale I had, haha)
½ pound short whole wheat pasta
Juice of ½ a lemon (the lemon makes ALL the difference; don’t skip this!)
Minced cilantro, for garnish

Place the lentils in a small pot and cover 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil. Add ½ teaspoon salt and the garlic cloves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and forget about the lentils.

Boil a second, large pot of water.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a big skillet over high heat. Add the merguez and cook til brown, about 12 minutes, tossing a few times. Remove the merguez to a plate, turn the heat to medium-low, and add the onion. Cook until onions are soft, about 20 minutes. Add the kale and a sprinkle of salt and cook til kale has wilted, 5 minutes. Add the lentils with their cooking water (I remove the smashed garlic before this) and sausage and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, while you cook the pasta.

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To the second pot of water, add lots of salt and the pasta. Cook until 1 minute short of al dente.

Now, scoop the cooked pasta right from its pot into the skillet. Bring the whole thing to a boil, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until everything is combined, adding a few tablespoons of pasta water straight from the pot if the mixture seems dry. [I needed to add this pasta water . .]

Squeeze some lemon and drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Toss. Garnish each portion with cilantro.

YUM!

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