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Orecchiette with Kale, Turkey Sausage and Gremolata Breadcrumbs | @foodiephysician

Orecchiette with Kale, Turkey Sausage and Gremolata Breadcrumbs

This hearty pasta dish features ear-shaped pasta (orecchiette) tossed with nutritious kale and savory turkey sausage, all topped off with lemony breadcrumbs.

Course Entree
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 500 kcal
Author The Foodie Physician



  • 8 ounces orecchiette pasta (or other small pasta shape)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, removed from casings
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale (about 8 ounces), chopped
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Gremolata Breadcrumbs:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs from whole wheat bread*
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Bring a large pot filled with salted water to boil over high heat. Add the orecchiette and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving approximately 1 cup of the pasta water.
  2. Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the turkey sausage and cook until browned and it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF, breaking it up as it cooks. Remove sausage from the pan and set aside in a bowl. Drain any fat in the pan.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the kale and toss to coat with the oil. Sauté 1-2 minutes, then add the chicken broth and cover the pan. Cook until the kale is wilted, a few minutes. Add the lemon juice and season the kale with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the sausage, orecchiette, and Pecorino Romano cheese to the pan and toss to combine all ingredients well. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water, a small amount at a time, just until the pasta is coated. Serve the pasta with gremolata breadcrumbs on the side to sprinkle on top.
  5. To make the gremolata breadcrumbs, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Toast until breadcrumbs are golden brown, then remove from heat and toss with the lemon zest, parsley, and salt.

Recipe Notes

*To make the fresh breadcrumbs, remove the crusts from 2 slices of bread and cut the bread into pieces. Pulse in a food processor for 10-15 seconds until crumbs form.

Gremolata Breadcrumbs (1 tablespoon): Calories: 23 Fat: 1.1g Saturated fat: 0.2g Carbohydrates: 3g Sugar 0g Sodium: 42mg Fiber: 0.2g Protein: 0.4g

Nutrition Facts
Orecchiette with Kale, Turkey Sausage and Gremolata Breadcrumbs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 500 Calories from Fat 141
% Daily Value*
Fat 15.7g24%
Saturated Fat 4.3g27%
Sodium 813mg35%
Carbohydrates 50.9g17%
Fiber 3.1g13%
Sugar 1.9g2%
Protein 34.4g69%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.