Orecchiette with Kale, Turkey Sausage and Gremolata Breadcrumbs

Culinary Setting
Meal Type
Lunch, Main Course, Entrée
40 MIN
Cooking Style
Quick and Easy
Turkey Sausage
Dish Type



8 oz orecchiette pasta (or other small pasta shape)

1 ½ tbsp olive oil, divided

1 lb sweet Italian turkey sausage, removed from casings

3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

1 bunch Tuscan kale (about 8 oz), chopped

1 c low sodium chicken broth

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ c grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Gremolata Breadcrumbs

2 tsp olive oil

1 small clove garlic, minced

½ c fresh breadcrumbs from whole wheat bread*

2 tsp lemon zest

1 tbsp minced parsley

⅛ tsp kosher salt


Bring a large pot filled with salted water to boil over high heat. Add the orecchiette and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving approximately 1 cup of the pasta water.

Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the turkey sausage and cook until browned and it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF, breaking it up as it cooks. Remove sausage from the pan and set aside in a bowl. Drain any fat in the pan.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the kale and toss to coat with the oil. Sauté 1-2 minutes, then add the chicken broth and cover the pan. Cook until the kale is wilted, a few minutes. Add the lemon juice and season the kale with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

Add the sausage, orecchiette, and Pecorino Romano cheese to the pan and toss to combine all ingredients well. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water, a small amount at a time, just until the pasta is coated. Serve the pasta with gremolata breadcrumbs on the side to sprinkle on top.

To make the gremolata breadcrumbs, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Toast until breadcrumbs are golden brown, then remove from heat and toss with the lemon zest, parsley, and salt.

*To make the fresh breadcrumbs, remove the crusts from 2 slices of bread and cut the bread into pieces. Pulse in a food processor for 10-15 seconds until crumbs form.