Cheesy Pesto Baked Cavatelli with Kale & Tomatoes
Family Friendly

Cheesy Pesto Baked Cavatelli

with Kale & Tomatoes

35 MIN
+$1.45/serving 4 Servings
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Vegetarian
These recipes don’t contain meat, poultry, fish, or seafood.* They’re made with fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. *Select artisanal cheeses may contain animal-derived rennet.
Carb Conscious
These meals have 48g or less of net carbs (total carbs minus dietary fiber) per serving. They replace refined carbohydrates from sources like white flour, rice, and cane sugar with high-fiber foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
600 Calories Or Less
Coming in at 600 calories or less per serving, these recipes are ideal for those choosing to monitor their caloric intake without sacrificing flavor. The US Food & Drug Administration uses 2000 calorie daily intake for general advice. The 600 calorie cap equates to 30% of the total 2000 calories per day based on 3 meals per day with 200 calories remaining for snack or beverage.
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These recipes feature grains such as barley, quinoa, farro, orzo, couscous and more, handpicked by our Culinary team in collaboration with our Registered Dietitian.
Pescatarian
These recipes feature a wide array of nutritious seafood options like salmon, cod, tilapia, crab, and shrimp. While these dishes never contain meat, pork or poultry, they may contain animal derived ingredients such as milk, butter, cheese and/or honey.
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    From the Test Kitchen

    To create this satisfying pasta bake, you’ll mix sautéed veggies with tender bites of fresh cavatelli pasta, two kinds of melty cheese, and a dollop of herbaceous basil pesto. A layer of crispy breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of tangy romano cheese add more layers of delicious flavor and texture to this crowd-pleasing dish.
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    • Nutrition
      PER SERVING
    • Calories
      860 Cals (est.)
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    fresh
    ingredients
    Cheesy Pesto Baked Cavatelli with Kale & Tomatoes
    Title
    • 10 oz Hot Italian Pork Sausage
    • 1 lb Fresh Cavatelli Pasta (Previously Frozen)
    • 2 cloves Garlic
    • ¾ lb Kale
    • ⅓ cup Basil Pesto
    • ½ lb Multicolored Grape Tomatoes
    • ¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
    • ¼ cup Cream
    • 4 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
    • ¼ cup Panko Breadcrumbs
    • ¼ cup Grated Romano Cheese
    • 2 oz Fontina Cheese
    time-saving
    tips & techniques
    Prepare the ingredients
    1 Prepare the ingredients

    Place an oven rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 450°F. Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way up with salted water; cover and heat to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic. Separate the kale leaves from the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Halve the tomatoes. Small dice the mozzarella. Grate the fontina on the large side of a box grater. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

    Cook the pasta
    2 Cook the pasta

    Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 11 to 13 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

    Cook the sausage
    3 Cook the sausage

    Meanwhile, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sausage. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 7 to 9 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a bowl.

    Cook the vegetables
    4 Cook the vegetables

    In the pan of reserved fond, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the chopped garlic and as much of the red pepper flakes as you'd like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until slightly softened. Add the chopped kale; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the kale is slightly wilted. Add the cream (carefully, as the liquid may splatter) and 1/2 cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the kale is wilted and most of the liquid has cooked off. Turn off the heat and stir in the halved tomatoes.

    Assemble the casserole
    5 Assemble the casserole

    To the pot of cooked pasta, add the cooked sausagecooked vegetables, diced mozzarella, grated fontina, and pesto. Stir to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to a large baking dish and arrange in an even layer. Evenly top with the seasoned breadcrumbs.

    Bake the casserole & serve your dish
    6 Bake the casserole & serve your dish

    Bake the casserole 9 to 11 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 2 minutes before serving. Serve the baked casserole garnished with the romano. Enjoy!

    Tips from Home Chefs

    Prepare the ingredients
    1 Prepare the ingredients

    Place an oven rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 450°F. Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way up with salted water; cover and heat to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic. Separate the kale leaves from the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Halve the tomatoes. Small dice the mozzarella. Grate the fontina on the large side of a box grater. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

    2 Cook the pasta

    Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 11 to 13 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

    Cook the pasta
    Cook the sausage
    3 Cook the sausage

    Meanwhile, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sausage. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 7 to 9 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a bowl.

    4 Cook the vegetables

    In the pan of reserved fond, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the chopped garlic and as much of the red pepper flakes as you'd like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until slightly softened. Add the chopped kale; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the kale is slightly wilted. Add the cream (carefully, as the liquid may splatter) and 1/2 cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the kale is wilted and most of the liquid has cooked off. Turn off the heat and stir in the halved tomatoes.

    Cook the vegetables
    Assemble the casserole
    5 Assemble the casserole

    To the pot of cooked pasta, add the cooked sausagecooked vegetables, diced mozzarella, grated fontina, and pesto. Stir to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to a large baking dish and arrange in an even layer. Evenly top with the seasoned breadcrumbs.

    6 Bake the casserole & serve your dish

    Bake the casserole 9 to 11 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 2 minutes before serving. Serve the baked casserole garnished with the romano. Enjoy!

    Bake the casserole & serve your dish
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