Kielbasa & Kale Over Pasta

This is a delicious alternative to red sauce using hearty, healthy greens. Kielbasa is coarsely ground, smoked and fully-cooked when you buy it. You could substitute andouille, Spanish chorizo or ring bologna and get a similar finished dish. The sweetness and acidity from the apple cider vinegar will cut through the fat and round out the dish. The tabasco is optional, but adds a little more vinegar and some delicious heat!


  • 12 oz kielbasa (give or take, if you have a pound, use it) 
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • Kosher salt 
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch kale, big stems removed and leaves roughly chopped or shredded
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (use water if that’s all you have)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pound Nicola's Pasta Fresca shapes of your choice
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Tabasco, for serving


1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Meanwhile, prep the kielbasa: If it has ends, trim them off. Cut the kielbasa into 3-4” lengths. Cut each length in half lengthwise and cut each of those in half again. You’ll have 4 sticks. Cut the stick into 1/2” lengths. Repeat with all the kielbasa and set aside.

​2. Heat the canola over medium in a large pan with a tight-fitting lid. A dutch oven works well here.  When the oil shimmers, add the chopped kielbasa. Cook uncovered, stirring every once in a while, until the edges get a little crispy and browned, about 6 minutes.

​3. Add the onion and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until the onions start to soften up a bit, about 4 minutes more. (Go easy on the salt - you can add more later and the kielbasa can be a little salty on its own).

​4. Add the kale, stock and vinegar. Clap on the lid and let steam until the kale begins to wilt, about 5 minutes.

​5. Remove the lid from the kale and release the steam. Stir and turn the heat to high. Cook off any remaining liquid. Turn off the heat, taste and add salt and/or pepper if necessary.

​6. When the pasta water boils, add kosher salt, a few tablespoons. Cook the pasta according to the box directions.

​7. Drain the pasta and top with kielbasa and kale! Drizzle all over with olive oil and serve with a bottle of tabasco at the table.


Recipe created by:

Chef Emily Peterson is an awarded food writer, culinary instructor and has taught food studies at NYU and Montclair State University. Her work has been featured in Edible, Fine Cooking, Modern Farmer, Martha Stewart, The New York Times, CBS, NBC, FOX, Food Network and Vegetarian Times. In 2018 she was nominated for an IACP Food Writing award in the memoir category. She lives in northern New Jersey on a 250-year old family farm with her husband, son, a flock of chickens and a dog named Rooster.


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