Pesto Penne with Kale and Italian Sausage

One of my 2017 resolutions was to be more consistent in my posts. Seeing how it’s April and this is my first post of the year, it’s not going too well.

But I’m here now!

And guess what?? My BFF is getting married this weekend!!! In her honor, I’m sharing a recipe that I made at her bachelorette party.

For her bachy we went to her favorite place – Palm Springs! Instead of staying at a hotel, I went the house route. I’m glad I did because I found the cutest place that was perfect for the weekend. This house was MADE for a bachelorette weekend or even just a weekend girls’ trip. Look at these pictures!

Saturday was a pool day at the house, which was exactly what we needed after going out the night before. We ended with a cozy pasta dinner in the backyard and it could not have been a more perfect end to the weekend. Pasta was perfect because when you have girls who’ve been drinking all day, you’ve gotta feed them carbs – AMIRIGHT?!

Pool days are the BEST days!

Knowing we’d be pooling it up all day, I needed easy dishes that wouldn’t take a lot of effort. No time for my bolognese sauce here. So I decided on two pasta dishes, Spaghetti with Spicy Creamy Tomato Sauce and Penne with Pesto, Kale & Italian Sausage, a simple salad and garlic bread. I think the penne dish was the bigger hit and is what I’m sharing with you today, but I’ll share the spaghetti dish at a later time because that was delicious and even easier to make!

Bride’s got her eye on the prize…that penne pasta

This dish is great to make for a crowd or as an easy weeknight dinner. What’s great about it is it’s a one pot dish, easy to make and tastes goooooood. If you’re going to make this for a pretty sizeable crowd or just want to give people the option of taking leftovers, feel free to double the recipe.

One pot goodness…

Some notes:

  • I usually use whole wheat pasta for this dish as I feel it goes well with the pesto, Italian sausage and kale. But use whatever you prefer, the end result is always tasty!
  • If you can’t find ground Italian sausage, not a problem. Just buy a package of links and remove the casing. Voila! Ground sausage.
  • I always buy the bag of chopped kale from Trader Joe’s. If you don’t want to go that route, feel free to use a head of kale, thoroughly rinse it and chop it up into small bite-size pieces. Personally, I wouldn’t worry about the stalk, it works just fine in the dish!
  • Feel free to add more red pepper flakes to taste if you want more spice! Sometimes I can only find sweet or mild, so when cooking down the sausage, I’ll usually add some red pepper flakes.

Happy eating!!



  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage (sweet, mild or hot)
  • 1 box penne (whole wheat, gluten free or regular)
  • 1 yellow onion – diced
  • 4 garlic cloves – chopped
  • 1 bag of chopped kale
  • 6-8 oz jar of pesto
  • Shaved or grated parmesan
  • Chopped parsley for garnish
  • Optional – red pepper flakes


Boil pasta according to package. Drain & set aside.
Using the same pot you cooked pasta in, heat on medium high heat.
Add ground sausage and cook until it’s all cooked through and slightly crisped – about 10 min.
Remove ground sausage into a bowl and set aside.
Leaving fat in the pot, add a little bit of olive oil for some additional fat.
Add in kale and mix to make sure it’s all coated in the fat. Cook down until it wilted and softened – about 10-12 min.
When kale is cooked down, lower heat to low, add in sausage and mix until thoroughly combined.
Add in half of pasta + half of pesto, combine everything together
Add remaining pasta and pesto and mix until everything is thoroughly combined
Serve and garnish with Parmesan, chopped parsley and red pepper flakes (if desired).

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