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Sausage Kale Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  15 min
  • Calories: 765
Pasta with sausage and lemon cream sauce, parmesan and kale in a bowl with a fork

A sumptuous, speedy creamy kale and sausage pasta recipe for all of your weeknight needs.

Creamy Sausage Pasta—Need We Say More?

Weeknights and pasta go together like peanut butter and jelly or gin and tonic—they’re a match made in heaven for so many reasons. Firstly, everyone likes pasta. It’s a blessedly easy sell to even the harshest dinnertime critic. Pasta keeps forever, so we’ve always, always got at least a box or two (or 10) in the cupboard. And last, but not least, it’s a pretty good blank slate! You can pretty much throw whatever is in your fridge or cupboard at a bowl of pasta and end up with something palatable—especially if you top it with lots of Parmesan cheese. This Italian sausage pasta recipe with lemon cream sauce and a bit of kale for good measure, is the kind of thing most of us can pull together in even a really last-minute situation. Fast, flavorful, and hearty, you know it’s going to be a big hit from the moment you start cooking. And that’s a weeknight feeling we’d all like to have a little more often than we do!

ingredients laid out for sausage kale pasta with lemon cream sauce.

Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Kale—The Ingredients are (Mostly) In the Name

This pasta recipe is so simple that just by reading the title you’ll have a sense for what you’ll need to make it. You might have a lot of the ingredients—or, if you’re really lucky, all—around the house already, but if you don’t, they’re super easy to get your hands on. But, BTW, easy and fast doesn’t mean this recipe lacks in deliciousness. With plenty of garlic and that bright lemon cream sauce, it’s positively bursting with goodness and is definitely worthy of a date night in or even dinner party. Here’s everything you’ll need to make it:

  • Orecchiette (or any pasta you love! But we love these little pasta “ears” because they really hold onto the sauce nicely.)

  • Mild Italian sausage

  • Fresh garlic

  • Heavy cream

  • Parmesan cheese

  • Lemon

  • Kale

ground Italian sausage in a frying pan
ground sausage in a skillet with thinly sliced garlic
heavy cream and parmesan cheese in a skillet
lemon cream sauce in a skillet with kale

How to Make This Easy, Yummy Sausage Pasta With Kale

This simple sausage cream sauce comes together quickly and a spritz of lemon and good handful of kale keep it from being overly rich or cloying. It’s basically the ultimate quick dinner! Here’s how to make it:

  1. Cook the pasta in salted water and set it aside while you make the sauce.

  2. Sauté the sausage until it’s cooked through.

  3. Add the garlic and sauté it with the sausage just for another minute or so. Set the sausage aside.

  4. Pour the heavy cream and Parmesan cheese into the pan and stir it over medium heat until it has thickened a bit.

  5. Add salt, pepper, kale and lemon juice and stir just until the kale has wilted.

  6. Stir in the sausage, garlic and pasta, and serve!

creamy lemon pasta sauce with kale, ground Italian sausage and garlic in a pan with a wooden spoon
creamy lemon pasta sauce with kale, ground Italian sausage and garlic

More Easy Sausage Pasta Recipes to Try

Tools You’ll Need

Sausage Kale Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce 8
Sausage Kale Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce 1 2

Creamy, Comforting Weeknight Ease

Try this dreamy kale-and-sausage pasta recipe, and let us know how you like it, OK? Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Sausage Kale Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  15 min
  • Calories: 765


  • 2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 12 oz. orecchiette, or any other pasta, (3/4 a bag or box)
  • ¾ lb mild italian sausage, casings removed
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 bunch Tuscan or curly kale, stems removed, roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of water seasoned with 2 teaspoons of salt to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet or medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 more minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage and garlic to a bowl.
  3. Add the cream and parmesan to the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the lemon juice along with the kale and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.
  4. Return the sausage and garlic to the sauce and add the drained pasta. Stir to combine.
  5. Serve the pasta with additional grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes, if desired.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories765
  • Protein27 g
  • Carbohydrates55 g
  • Total Fat51 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol154 mg
  • sodium1083 mg
  • Total Sugars4 g

Sausage Kale Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • T

    how many servings is this recipe?


  • Phyllis Covici

    Can I use a lactose free milk in place of the heavy cream and can I substitute baby spinach for the kale?
    Lots of dietary issues for family

    We get that! Baby spinach is fine and we haven't tried it with lactose free milk so difficult to say for sure but we'd love to know how it turns out!

  • Beth hill

    I did not have heavy cream so I used butter and while milk. Then added the parm. All looked good but after adding the lemon juice it curdled. What did I do wrong? Anything I could do to fix it?


    Oh no! So sorry to hear that happened Beth. It's possible your sauce got to hot. Next time you could try turning it down a bit before stirring in the lemon juice. You can try to fix that by gently heating a small amount of your dairy base, and gradually whisk it into the broken sauce.

  • C

    Do you drain the oil from cooking the sausage? or it is incorporated into the sauce??

    You can just leave it in the pan! Hope you enjoy!

  • Julie Heffler

    Hi! We LOVE all your recipes that we’ve tried so far!! Was wondering if you’ve tried making the sausage Kale lemon pasta with dairy free ingredients? If so, how did you substitute the heavy cream! Thanks so much!!

    I have not. I only convert recipe with heavy cream to dairy free if I think coconut cream would taste good. I personally would not try make this dairy free.

  • Brittany

    This was delicious! I made it dairy free with coconut milk and used broccoli instead of kale. So good!!!

    Thanks Brittany, so glad you loved it!

  • Gregory Parkinson

    Wasn’t too lemony. Sort of rustic. I will make it again.

    Thanks Gregory, glad you enjoyed it and want to make it again!

  • Mary

    Just tried this recipe and absolutely LOVED it. So easy and super tasty - definitely recommend!

    Thanks so much Mary! We are thrilled to hear you love it!

  • Aaron Robinson

    So easy, so so good. In my regular rotation forever. Thank you!

    Thanks Aaron, this is amazing to hear!! So happy you loved it and are throwing it in rotation!

  • Smith

    Unbelievable 🥰😋. This might be my new favorite recipe. Highly recommend

    Thank you so much! That is so wonderful to hear! We are so happy that you loved it so much!