This Creamy Sausage Pasta is basically Zuppa Toscana pasta - packed with delicious sausage and bacon, tender kale and a garlic Parmesan cream sauce. It's easy enough for a weeknight dinner, but special enough for date night (and budget friendly too!).
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until just before it's al dente, following package directions. Before draining, reserve a cup of pasta water. Drain noodles and keep warm.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove ground sausage from casings by making a slit down the middle and pulling casing off. Chop bacon into small pieces. Fry both in skillet until brown.
While meat is cooking, dice onion and mince garlic. Wash kale, strip leaves off tough centre stems and chop into small pieces. Grate fresh Parmesan.
Remove sausage and bacon to a plate and drain off all but 1-2 tablespoons of oil from the skillet. Add onion and saute for a few minutes until it softens. Add garlic, pepper and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook for about 1 minute.
Slowly pour chicken broth and white wine vinegar (or wine) into skillet and use a wooden spoon to scrape browned bits off the bottom of the skillet.
Add chopped kale, sausage and bacon to the skillet and cook for a few minutes - until kale turns bright green and wilts slightly.
Add linguine noodles, heavy cream and 1/2 cup of pasta water to the skillet (you might need to move everything to a larger pot, like the one you cooked the pasta in). Toss everything together for several minutes over low heat, making a special effort to agitate the sauce and noodles. If it needs more liquid, add another 1/2 cup of pasta water and mix very well to emulsify the cream sauce.
Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Taste for seasoning. Add salt to taste. I used one full teaspoon. The flavours should be bright (if it tastes dull, you need more salt).
Serve immediately, garnishing with chopped fresh parsley, if using.