Tomato Sauce with Sausage and Kale

This is a home-y sauce which cooks quickly. Very easy, healthy and delicious for a weeknight dinner. The olive oil added as a garnish at the end gives it a sweet and fresh taste.

3 tbsp quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet Italian sausage
1 spicy Italian sausage
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (I like Muir Glen, and I don’t really like anything else…)
1 small pinch dried thyme
1 small bunch of lacinato kale, cut into chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 lb pasta of your choice (fusilli or a similar shape would be good here but you can also use ravioli)
Start your pasta water to boil with plenty of salt. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed, lidded sauté pan over medium-high heat (without the lid for now). Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and swirl the pan to coat. When the oil has heated, squeeze the sausages from their casings into the pan. Sauté for four or five minutes while breaking up the sausages with a wooden spoon. Monitor the heat carefully so that the sausage doesn’t form too much of a fond on the bottom of the pan. When the sausage is just beginning to brown in places, add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 5 more minutes. When the onion is wilted, add the garlic and cook for just about 30 seconds, until the pungent garlic smell mellows just slightly. Pour in the liquid from the whole peeled tomatoes, then squeeze each whole tomato in your hand to crush it before you drop it into the pan. (This squirt-prone operation can be mitigated somewhat by poking a hole with your thumb and one finger to de-pressurize the tomato before you really put the squeeze down. I rarely escape this operation without an errant squirt, so an apron would be a strong recommendation here. This might seem like a complicated process — why not just use diced or puréed tomatoes? Well, somehow they just don’t have the same delicate, slightly brothy-y texture and flavor.)
Now add the thyme and the kale and stir the sauce to combine the ingredients. Salt carefully to taste. Cover the sauce and simmer for about 7 minutes, until the kale is wilted and the sauce is bubbling. As soon as you cover your sauce, check the time you need to cook your pasta, and time it to be done just about the same time as the sauce.
Drain the pasta when it’s cooked to your liking, and spoon it into 4 wide shallow bowls. Divide the sauce on top of the pasta between the 4 bowls. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp of olive oil over each bowl, and grate the Parmigiano on top.
Serves 4.

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