Dinner, Pasta / Grains

Pasta with Sausage and Collard Greens

Collard Greens and Pasta

My Boston Organics adventures this summer have really allowed me to experiment with a number of ingredients that I would never buy simply browsing the local produce aisle. So when I received a huge bunch of dark leafy collard greens one week I definitely felt a little stumped. What could I do with them? Since I’d never had them before I didn’t even know what they tasted like, so I didn’t feel comfortable deciding what flavors might go well with them in a dish. So they sat in the fridge for a few days until I started googling for recipes. Thankfully I happened upon an older post at Kaylyn’s Kitchen that sounded exactly like something I’d like full of spicy sausage, red pepper flakes, and pasta.

In the end I made a few minor changes to the original recipe. Perhaps a little out of laziness, I decided to only use one pot to boil the sausage, greens, and pasta. I like to think that this gives the pasta a little extra flavor. I also used six turkey links instead of five as the turkey sausage I use comes in packages of six. I also used farfalle pasta for the simple fact that I think it’s pretty. Finally, I finished each bowl of pasta, sausage, and greens with an extra few dashes of red pepper flakes, a drizzle of olive oil, and a healthy grating of Parmesan cheese.

The funniest thing happens when you make this recipe. The sausage blows up to a disturbing size in the boiling pot of water. This immediately reminded me of the turkey hot dogs I ate as a kid that would blow up to ridiculous proportions on the grill. Does anyone else remember that phenomena? It’s pretty hilarious. Sometimes the turkey dogs would even develop bubbles and they’d look like total science fair projects on a bun.

I can’t recommend this recipe enough! My experimental dinner turned out delicious and I was surprised to discover that the collard greens have a slightly peppery taste. I’ve received collard greens twice more from Boston Organics since I originally freaked out over what I could do with this so-called “mystery ingredient” and both times I’ve returned to this recipe.

Pasta with Sausage and Collard Greens
Slightly altered and based on the recipe in The Best Recipes in the World cookbook by Mark Bittman originally discovered online at Kaylyn’s Kitchen.

1 bunch collard greens (about 1 lb.) stems removed, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced crosswise into half inch slices
3 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
6 links hot turkey Italian sausage
16 oz. pasta (Note: I used farfalle).
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add sausage and cook at low boil 10 minutes. Let sausage cool and slice. Add sliced collard greens and boil 5-7 minutes, until tender but still bright green. Remove collards from water, keep water in the pot and bring back to a boil. When water comes to a boil, add pasta and a small amount of salt and cook 9-10 minutes, until done but still quite al dente. Drain pasta, reserving about one cup of cooking liquid.

While pasta cooks, in large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add sliced sausage and brown until well browned on both sides. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil and garlic (and the red pepper flakes if using) and cook 2 minutes, scraping bottom of pan to get browned sausage bits. Add collards and saute 2 minutes, then add pasta and enough cooking liquid to moisten dish, and cook 2 minutes more. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. (Note: In addition to the cheese, I also drizzle a little more olive oil on top and a few extra shakes of red pepper flakes).