¼ cup good quality olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
3/4 tsp crushed red chile flakes ( or more if you can take it!)
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
2½ cups half and half
⅓ cup grated Parmesan
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound dried penne pasta
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley, for garnish
Heat oil in a 6-qt saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion and red chile flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the sausage and cook, using a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces until browned, 16 to 18 minutes.
Add the chopped kale, season with salt and pepper and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
Add the half and half and bring to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally until reduced by a third, 7 to 8 minutes.
Stir in Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and zest, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper; set aside and keep warm.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the penne and cook, stirring occasionally until al dente, 8 to 9 minutes.
Drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking water; add both pasta and water to the reserved sauce and cook about 5 minutes more. Serve garnished with parsley.