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Dinner Tonight: Fusilli with Sausage, Kale, and Sungold Tomatoes

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

One of my pasta staples in the fall and early winter is the combination of sweet Italian sausage and earthy kale. It's an intensely rich dish, dependent on the gorgeous taste of porky fat reduced with pasta cooking water to create an unctuous sauce. To counter all that richness, I usually add a zip of lemon zest or a splash of white wine. So what was I doing cooking this in August? Because I have a Sungold tomato plant in the backyard, which is considered by some to be the best of all cherry tomatoes, and inspiration struck: The sweet, intensely bright flavor of tomatoes would be the perfect acidic foil in this dish.

I relied loosely on a recipe from Jamie Oliver's Cook with Jamie, like the sprinkle of red pepper flakes and bashed-up fennel seeds to add some interest to the sausage. I added in the blanched kale once the sausage was crisp and caramelized, then the tomatoes to blister and soften just for a few moments. You could use any cherry tomato if Sungold's aren't available—as long as they're ripe, the sweet-tart burst does wonders for this dish.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.

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