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Orzo with Mini Sausage Meatballs and Kale

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Three 4-ounce mild Italian sausage links

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 cup orzo pasta

4 cups chopped kale

1 lemon

Coarse salt

Freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish

Parsley leaves, for garnish

Crusty bread, for serving


  1. Remove the casings from each sausage link, then pinch about 1 teaspoon sausage with your fingers and roll it into a mini meatball. Repeat with remaining sausage. (Each link should yield 10 to 13 meatballs.) Brown the meatballs in a large cast-iron, enameled cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat, until nicely browned all over, about 6 minutes total.
  2. Add the chicken stock to the pan along with the orzo. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes. Lift the lid and give it a stir, making sure no pasta is sticking to the pan. Add the kale, nestle it in, then cover and simmer another 2 minutes. Lift the lid and add the juice from half the lemon (cut the remaining half into wedges). Stir and simmer until the orzo is just al dente, an additional minute or so. Season to taste with a pinch of salt if needed.
  3. Divide among shallow bowls and garnish with plenty of grated Parmesan, along with extra lemon wedges and parsley. And crusty bread. Always.