Brooming out chard, kale and sausage with baked pasta

We are quite happy to be back in the swing of summer, but the season’s bounty is beginning to overstuff our refrigerator. Michelle is beginning to explore replacing our aged Sub-Zero, and possibly adding a second unit outside. Meanwhile, we’re making space the old-fashioned way: searching for recipes that get rid of large bales of green stuff.

Casting about for a not-too-tasking solution, Michelle thought about a baked pasta dish. She found this recipe originally made with broccoli rabe on Smitten Kitchen, and realized it would also help deal with some extra sausages Steve had brought home from the butcher. Chard and kale were cut and blanched; sausages were fried and a Béchamel made. (As store-bought pasta was used, Steve mostly sat around.) Everything was assembled and inserted into the oven.

The result was a lovely dinner, the rich Béchamel countered by the bitter greens with everything graced by gently herbed sausage. Our leftovers worked quite well for several meals more—and, for a moment, we had some extra space in our refrigerator.


  • 1 lb. dried penne or ziti
  • Olive oil
  • 2 bunches fresh greens (we used kale and chard), stemmed and leaves chopped into medium pieces
  • 8 oz. garlic or Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan + more for topping
  • 8 oz. mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • 4 TB butter
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. milk
  • Salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Place in a large bowl and toss with some olive oil so it doesn’t stick together.

Cook greens in boiling, salted water for a few minutes until tender. Add more tender greens, such as chard, after kale has been cooking for a minute or so. Drain in a colander and shock with cold water. Squeeze water out and place greens in bowl with pasta.

Cook sausage in a skillet, breaking up with a spatula, adding a little olive oil if sausage is particularly lean. Remove sausage from skillet with a spatula, and place in bowl with pasta.

Cook onions and fennel in the skillet, adding some olive oil if needed. Season with salt and pepper. When onions are soft, add garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to caramelize. Place in bowl with pasta.

Add cheeses to bowl with pasta and toss mixture, making sure that greens are broken up into pieces and distributed throughout.

Make sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and stir until flour is cooked off. Slowly add milk, whisking. Season generously with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until thickened. Let cool a bit, then add to bowl with pasta. Stir in.

Place pasta mixture in a buttered or oiled shallow baking dish (or dishes). Sprinkle more Parmesan on the top.

Bake at 400° F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until warmed through and top is browned.


  1. We just replaced our sub-zero that we inherited with this house. I didn’t want the same thing, but it broke about 15 minutes before I left town, so my husband went to our local appliance store and asked for a new one. I would have preferred a different design, but i knew he’d do the easiest thing. At least he did it. However, i am now wondering how many months it really wasn’t cooling to the proper temperature, because it feels more like a freezer every time I open it! So maybe it’s time for you guys to replace yours too!

  2. This is a nice comfort meal, I think I want to make this tonight but I dont have sausages, I do have chorizos though so will give it a shot with that one

  3. Even though broccoli rabe is a classic match with sausage, if you’re mixing it all with pasta and bechamel, I think kale and chard is a much better choice. And, as luck would have it, I have a bunch of chard in the fridge and sausage in the freezer right at the moment… I may give this a go!

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