I love pasta, but we actually don’t eat it that often. You know…carbs and all that. Most of the time, our carbs during dinner come from brown rice and veggies…I know…exciting right? But when we do eat pasta, it’s such a treat and it definitely has to be worth it. Even better if it’s got great nutritional value like this dish has. This chicken pasta is loaded with nutrients from kale, and has added protein from cheese and chicken sausage. The sauce is not a calorie dense super thick sauce like you’d find in typical pasta dishes, instead it is light, yet still flavorful.
Now I have to take a minute to address the sauce thickener in this recipe…arrowroot flour. Cornstarch is one of the most common thickeners for sauces and gravies, however, I really don’t suggest using it if you can avoid it. For one, it has a more chalky taste that in my opinion, can interfere too much with the natural flavors of a dish. It can also change the color of the dish…which I guess isn’t as important if you’re not taking photos. However, one of the biggest issues for me is that any given cornstarch product has most likely been made with corn that has been genetically modified. Many fruits and veggies are GMO’d these days, which is why we try to buy organic, but that’s another story. Arrowroot flour on the other hand, has a silkier feel, an unobtrusive flavor, and becomes translucent when added to food.
Okay…sauce lesson over. Go enjoy some pasta!
- 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil or coconut oil
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more if you'd like a little more spice)
- 1 pound sweet Italian Chicken sausage, chopped (look for a variety that's fully cooked)
- 1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 14 oz Whole Wheat Orecchiette (or wheat pasta of choice)
- 2 cups chicken stock (you can also use almond milk)
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tsp Arrowroot flour (or cornstarch)
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions; drain and set aside when done.
- While pasta is cooking, heat oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven or large pot.
- Add garlic, onion and pepper flakes; stir occasionally and cook until beginning to brown, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add sausage and cook for 7 minutes or until browned.
- Add kale and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. You may add a little water to help the wilting process. Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, make a slurry by combining arrowroot with 2 tbsp of cold water; whisk until smooth. (Do not use room temperature water)
- In a saucepan, bring stock to a boil and then lower temperature to a simmer.
- Stir in Parmesan, lemon juice and zest; when combined add arrowroot slurry and continue to simmer for 1 minute. (Do not over stir as arrowroot can thin out if stirred too much)
- Promptly remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour sauce over pasta and toss to coat.
*You can use cornstarch in this recipe, but I don't recommend it since most corn products contain corn that has been genetically modified. It also has much more of a starchy taste, and you'll need to adjust your slurry mix. Arrowroot flour or powder can be found in health food stores and in most well stocked grocery stores.