Recipe: Pasta with All Those Greens You Normally Throw Out, plus Sausages and Chilli

This recipe makes me happy, happy, happy!  Its antecedents are in a lovely recipe by Diana Henry for pasta with broccoli and sausage, which I make all the time, but this version gains extra farmers’ market and frugal credibility by making use of the tops of root vegetables and wild greens. 

Radish greens, as it turns out, cook down to something that tastes deliciously spinach-like, and I think most people already know that beetroot greens are essentially the same as silverbeet.  Another green I didn’t use was carrot greens, but you could certainly go that route, to bring a slightly more herbal taste to your pasta.

The other lovely thing about this recipe, of course, is how easy it is to throw together.  It’s just a lovely, tasty, comforting pasta dish for a work night.  And it makes me feel good both to make it and to eat it.  I hope you love it too.


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olive oil
6-8 good sausages, any kind you like
1 big onion
3 big cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
Three bunches of leaves – I used leaves from one bunch of radishes, one bunch of beetroot, and one bunch of Fat Hen – washed and picked over.  This is the longest part of the recipe.
1/3 cup white wine
300 g penne pasta
parmesan, to serve


Now what will you do with it?

Slit the sausages, and remove the meat from the sausage skins.  Roll the sausages into little balls, and sauté them in a little olive oil in a large skillet until they are browned all over.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.


Slice your onion into half moons and add to the skillet.  If you were using beetroot greens or rainbow chard or silverbeet, chop any nice-looking stalks into short lengths and add them to the onions to cook.


Start the water boiling for the pasta.

Crush the garlic and add to the skillet with the chilli flakes.  Stir everything around for a minute or so. Roughly chop your leaves and add them to the pan.  Stir until they begin to wilt, then add the white wine and return the sausage balls to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper, cover, lower the heat, and leave everything to simmer for ten minutes to half an hour or so, until the wine has largely evaporated and the sausage balls are cooked.  This should happen in the time it takes the pasta to get ready, really.  Halve one sausage ball at the end of this time to make sure they are cooked through.

A sink full of greens, in lieu of actual photos that I forgot to take because I was busy cooking...

A sink full of greens, in lieu of actual photos that I forgot to take because I was busy cooking…

Cook the pasta to al dente, then drain it well, and add it to the skillet with the sausages and greens.  Grate a small handful of parmesan cheese into the skillet and stir through.

Divide between 4-5 plates, sprinkle with a little more parmesan, and serve.



This recipe is obviously not vegetarian, though it would work with a sturdy sort of vegetarian sausage if you had one.  It is gluten-free with the right pasta, and is egg-free and nut-free.  It’s fairly low GI because the actual portions of pasta are smallish.  It tastes pretty good even without the cheese, so you could omit this for a dairy-free dish.

Any greens will work here.  I’ve used Chinese broccoli, bok choi, spinach, silverbeet, broccoli, nettles, broccolini and kale, alone or in a variety of combinations.  I do particularly like this version because of the way it uses the ‘waste’ portion of the root vegetables (and, I must say, because I find that I really like the taste of the radish greens – far more than I had anticipated, in fact), but you should use whatever you have to hand, in the spirit of the recipe.  Any short pasta would do, of course, but rougher ones catch the mixture better.

This mixture would be rather gorgeous over polenta, I feel, so that’s another good gluten-free option.  You could also take out half the sausages and replace them with a tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (add them just before you add the pasta).  This would also decrease the glycemic index of the dish, and would taste good, too.



One year ago: Farmers’ Market – Zucchini Party!

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