I’ve been seeing “one pan” pasta dishes all over food blogs for a long while now, and to be honest, I am not sure why I resisted making it before. I liked the idea of the dry pasta cooking in the broth with the sausage, onions, garlic, and spices instead of just salted water. Cooking the pasta like this is more hands on than regular pasta cooking but it was fun for me and reminded me of making risotto. This orecchiette with Italian sausage and kale had a great depth of flavor for a dish with so few ingredients. I loved that it was a simple recipe to make but not boring. My family loved this pasta and my husband enjoyed the leftovers for lunch today. This pasta paired very nicely with a loaf of crusty baked bread and the Roasted Beet Salad with Spinach, Feta, and Toasted Pecans.
Pour the chicken broth in a small saucepan over low heat to warm through.
Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until it is soft and golden, about 5-6 minutes. Stir sausage into the onions along with the basil, oregano, crushed fennel seed, and crushed red pepper flakes; cook and stir until sausage is broken up and just browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
Pour 1 ½ cups of warm chicken broth into the sausage mixture and bring to a boil while scraping the browned bits of food off of the bottom of the pan. Add the orecchiette pasta; cook and stir pasta in the hot broth, adding remaining broth when liquid is absorbed, until pasta is cooked through and most of the broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, if needed.
Stir kale into sausage mixture until it wilts, about 1-2 minutes. Ladle pasta into bowls and top with shaved Parmesan. Serve immediately. Enjoy.