It always surprises me how much greens like spinach and Swiss chard leaves shrink when you wilt them. I used enough kale in this dish to fill my largest pot to overflowing, but by the time the green had wilted into the pasta cooking liquid I’d added to the pot, it had shrunk to less than a tenth of its original volume.
But that came late in the process. Let’s start at the beginning.
The first thing I did was fry two sprigs of rosemary in olive oil. (Never did that before, but it’s what the Bon Appétit recipe called for.) While they were cooking, I removed the casings from three spicy Italian sausages and broke up the contents into bite-sized pieces. After I removed the cooked rosemary and set it aside to drain and dry, the sausage segments went into the same pot.
Once the sausage was cooked, it too got the drain-and-dry treatment and was replaced in the big pot by cannellini beans, and some white wine.
Meanwhile, on another burner, the rigatoni was almost ready. (This is what’s known as a “B Story”. I included it to add depth and variety to this posting, which was becoming far too linear.)
And that was the point where the pasta water went into the pot and the kale went into the pasta water.
After the kale melt-down, I returned the sausage pieces to the pot, added the rigatoni, and blended in some Parmesan and butter.
I crumbled the rosemary leaves—remember the rosemary?—over the top, and it was ready to go.
★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.