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Cookbook Review: My Year in Meals, by Rachael Ray

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Being a book about the home cooking and eating habits of such a high-profile celebrity chef I was slightly disappointed not to find more dramatic revelations, like what Ray does when a sauce just won't thicken, or half her tomatoes are mealy, or the ethics of serving your family pasta you accidentally dropped on the floor. Alas, she seems as put-together in her own kitchen as on TV, and far less likely than me to encounter kitchen mishaps.

However, I did discover Rachael Ray eats a lot of pasta, a whole lot of pasta. Any given month was sure to contain at couple pasta recipes every other page, tossed with almost every kind of meat, veggie, and sauce you can think of. It seemed only fitting that I try one of her pasta recipes for myself.

I picked pasta with sausage and kale in roasted garlic sauce, which Ray created on Jan. 31, after finding inspiration at a "fabulous" New York restaurant. I only modified it a little bit, leaving out the white wine because I didn't have any on hand, cutting back on the onion a bit, and adding extra kale because I wanted plenty of veggies. I even made the homemade sausage, which was ridiculously easy, and almost made me feel like one of the pros.

Rachael Ray's pasta with sausage and kale in roasted garlic sauce
Serves 4 to 6

1 head garlic, top cut off to expose the cloves, plus 3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), plus more for drizzling

salt and pepper

1 bunch, about 1/2 pound kale, stemmed and thinly sliced (Ray calls for lacinato kale, though I'm sure any type of greens, or even broccoli or peas would work great in this dish.) 

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

2 large onions, thinly sliced

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup dry white wine (may substitute cooking wine)

1-1/2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 pound rigatoni pasta

homemade pork sausage (recipe follows)

freshly grated nutmeg

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