Pasta with Cranberry, Kale and Sausage


Tired of turkey and not sure what to do with that left-over cranberry sauce?   Don’t let the ingredients in this recipe scare you off, this is a very tasty meal.  Give it a try and let us know if we let you down.


  • 1 box rigatoni cooked per package directions
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water (water you cooked your pasta in)
  • 2 tbs butter or olive oil
  • ½ lb bulk, sweet Italian sausage (You can use Jimmy Dean, but it won’t be the same.)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ¾ cup whole cranberry sauce
  • ¾ cup dry red wine or chicken broth
  • 1 ¼ lbs fresh kale, tough stems removed, chopped
  • Black pepper (preferably freshly ground)
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese


Heat butter/oil in a large deep pan over medium high heat.  Add sausage and brown.  Add onion and cook for 3 or 4 minutes or until onion slightly caramelizes.  Add garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until garlic is tender.

Add cranberry sauce and wine, stir until well combined.  Add kale a handful at a time, stir and allow to wilt.  Add some of the reserved pasta water (or chicken broth) if mixture appears dry.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.

If your pan is large enough, add the pasta to the pan with the sausage mixture and stir.  Top with cheese, mix and serve.   

Adding extra cheese once plated is a delicious option.

Other recipes can be found here in our Lifestyle section.

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Cindy A. Rose began writing for the Tentacle in 2011 trying to raise awareness over things happening within Frederick County Public Schools. She began keeping a close watch on FCPS when she learned there were not enough air conditioned buses for special needs children during the hot Maryland summers. The Tentacle offered her a place to share her concerns with her community when local newspapers didn’t always. Cindy had the opportunity to buy the Tentacle from creator/owner John W. Ashbury in 2019, so she did. She believed then, as she believes now, our communities, friends and neighbors have important things to say that needs to be shared with those living around them. Large corporate news companies don’t always share in those passions and concerns. The Tentacle is a local news, commentary and community website run by citizens, for citizens. Its success depends on your participation.