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Sausage and Swiss Chard Pasta

I whipped up lunch with fresh produce from the farmers market and the result was amazing. —Kate Stiltner, Rockford, Michigan
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 12 ounces uncooked orecchiette or small tube pasta (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1/2 pound baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts, toasted


  • Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook sausage and red onion until no longer pink, 3-4 minutes, breaking into crumbles. Add fennel, mushrooms and garlic; cook until tender, 6-8 minutes. Add Swiss chard; cook and stir until wilted, 4-5 minutes longer.
  • Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water. In a large bowl, combine pasta, sausage mixture, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, adding enough reserved pasta water to coat pasta and create a creamy texture. Serve with remaining cheese and pine nuts.

Test Kitchen tips
  • Spicy Italian sausage also would complement the flavors in this dish.
  • The pasta absorbs the cooking liquid quickly, so serve immediately for the best texture.
  • Health tip: Lighten up this dish by using turkey Italian sausage, and add fiber with whole wheat orecchiette instead of white pasta.
    Nutrition Facts
    1-1/3 cups: 487 calories, 25g fat (6g saturated fat), 34mg cholesterol, 726mg sodium, 51g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 4g fiber), 19g protein.

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    • cynthia
      Dec 12, 2020

      I made this tonight and I was surprised at how flavorful it was. Very rich and satisfying for a cold Indiana night. I had to sub the chard for spinach, none available and didn't use the nuts bc I don't have any. I couldn't find orecchiette pasta so I used medium shells instead. Didn't season it at the end bc it just didn't need it. I was dubious on the fennel, I thought the licorice flavour would be too strong but it wasn't. Just enough to keep it interestingly European. On the downside, my meat and potatoes ploughboy hubby would not even try it, he didn't like the aroma. Son ate a huge bowl as did I. That's okay, more for me later!

    • donna
      Oct 19, 2020

      This is my first recipe review. I use alot of very successful recipes, like to keep dinner interesting and always new. This is the first time I felt the need to leave a review. This pasta was absolutely delicious! I used a rather plain, sweet peppered pork sausage. I cooked the veggies down until they were very soft and almost ready to caramelize. I used fresh grated parmesan and even forgot the salt and pepper and it was still SO delicious. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!