Crumbled Italian sausage and wilted kale in a rich cheese sauce, baked under a crisp parmesan and fresh herb-flavored crust. Dinner doesn’t get much easier than a simple gratin. The ingredients bake until the filling is nice and bubbly, and the aroma is almost too much to bear. Perhaps serve it alongside a simple salad and a glass of wine. Better yet? This is one dish that is even better the next day, provided you have any of it leftover.
ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND KALE GRATIN
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes | Serves 6 to 8
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound fresh mild Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 bunches (about 1 pound) kale, stemmed and torn into large pieces
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
8 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs (such as a combination of parsley, oregano and basil)
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large, heavy-bottom saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the sausage and cook until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the wine and cook, scraping the flavoring from the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until the wine reduces and is mostly evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium.
4. Stir in the kale, one handful at a time. Cook the kale, stirring it in with the sausage, until it begins to wilt and turn a bright green. Continue adding kale by the handful until it is all added to the saute pan and is just wilted. Do not overcook the kale. Remove from heat and set the pan aside.
5. In a large saucepan, melt one-half cup (1 stick) butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to form a roux. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to get rid of any lumps. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking frequently. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
6. Crumble the goat cheese to the sauce and whisk until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth, then stir in the sausage and kale. Remove from heat.
7. Spoon the mixture into a shallow, 2-quart gratin dish.
8. In a medium bowl, combine the Parmigiano-Reggiano, bread crumbs and minced fresh herbs. Pour over the 3 tablespoons melted butter and stir until the butter is evenly distributed to form the topping.
9. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the sausage and kale mixture.
10. Bake the gratin until the topping is golden-brown and the filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes.
11. Cool slightly before serving.
Each of 8 servings: 494 calories; 14 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 40 grams fat; 21 grams saturated fat; 85 mg cholesterol; 4 grams sugar; 600 mg sodium.
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