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Penne with Sausage, Chard & Pine Nuts

Scott Phillips

Servings: two generously.

This simple recipe is a weeknight staple in our house. I vary the basic recipe by using escarole, Savoy cabbage, radicchio, or endive in place of the chard, and pancetta or smoked bacon in place of the sausage.


  • 1 Tbs. olive oil; more as needed
  • 5 oz. sweet Italian sausage (about 2 sausage links), casings removed, meat crumbled
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 small bunch red, green, or yellow Swiss chard, tougher stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch dried red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup homemade or low-salt chicken or vegetable broth, or dry white wine
  • 8 oz. dried penne or fusilli
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar; more to taste
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on two servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 840
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 300
  • Fat (g): 33
  • Saturated Fat (g): 5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Cholesterol (mg): 45
  • Sodium (mg): 1180
  • Carbohydrates (g): 95
  • Fiber (g): 7
  • Protein (g): 42


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for cooking the pasta. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage; cook, breaking it up and stirring with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage and set aside. If the pan seems a bit dry, add enough oil so there’s about 3 Tbs. fat in the pan. Return the pan to medium heat, add the onion, and cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add the chard, garlic, and pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and toss until the chard begins to sizzle, about 1 minute. Add the broth, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chard is tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until just tender. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta, leaving drops of water clinging to it. Add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the cooking water to the skillet, using more of the water if needed. Return the sausage to the pan and add the balsamic vinegar. Heat gently for a few minutes to let the flavors meld. Add the pine nuts and half of the Parmigiano, and taste for salt and pepper. Add a bit more of the cooking water if the pan seems dry. Serve warm, passing the remaining Parmigiano at the table.


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Reviews (4 reviews)

  • koerber | 02/21/2016

    This was the first dish I made from my very first issue of finecooking years ago. It has been my absolute favorite pasta dish and and a family staple ever since. I make it at least once a month!I love the 'goodies' more than the pasta, so I basically double the ingredients for everything else, including all 5 Italian sausage links in your typical package, and then use a full 16oz box of pasta. The flavors are amazing! Sausage, pine nuts, parm reg, balsamic - what's not to love!!! As an added bonus, my uber-picky kids have loved it since they were young and it's a great, quick 1-pot weeknight meal that can get a good portion of veggies in them.Thanks, Molly, for an amazing go-to dinner!

  • twood | 07/19/2011

    Great way to use up chard and is perfect for a quick weeknight meal. I made some health conscious changes to the recipe: whole wheat spaghetti, chicken apple sausage, and reduced oil. I really enjoyed the dish. The balsamic vinegar adds a nice, sweet flavor to the chard. FYI... The serving size is very generous (e.g., 4 oz pasta per person when 2oz is typically considered a serving).

  • Annakatherine | 04/19/2011

    I really liked this dish. I love Chard!!!! I found it made more than 2 generous dishes which is ok by me....left overs were just as good if you save the pine nuts and cheese in seperate container as not to get soggy. Would make again for sure.

  • User avater
    duckyfufu | 05/29/2009

    Great weeknight meal, and a great way to use up the tons of chard I have growing! Very tasty indeed.

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