Pasta with Sausage and Collard Greens

July 23, 2008 · 19 comments · Print This Post

in Dinner, Pasta / Grains

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).

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 PaintingChef July 23, 2008 at 9:08 am

That sounds SCRUMPTIOUS! I live in the South where there are collard greens a-plenty but I cannot stand the way everyone cooks them in a vat of lard and ham and then slops them on your plate and drowns them in vinegar. My stomach curdles just thinking about them. Its criminal really… because like you said, they are deliciously peppery and flavorful on their own. I will DEFINITELY be trying this recipe, thanks so much!


2 Grace July 23, 2008 at 10:04 am

LOVE collard greens! This looks delicious, Erin.


3 Susie July 23, 2008 at 10:20 am

Oooh love spicy! Mmmm! And the peppery taste – would that be peppercorn or like bell pepper? I’ve never had collard greens!

Erin have you seen this?

Also – pop over when you have a sec and tell me what we will eat for my birthday! You must have something to suggest!


4 Erin July 23, 2008 at 10:59 am

Remember on The Office when Stanley says “it’s collard greens” after Michael makes some racist joke … that’s what I always think of when hearing about collard greens. I like them too, this recipe looks delicious!


5 PaniniKathy July 23, 2008 at 11:31 am

You’ve convinced me – just printed this out, we’re having it tonight!


6 Julia July 23, 2008 at 12:30 pm

This looks great! That is my kind of pasta dish. Light with a little veg and a little protein. I always use the hot pasta water to blanch broccoli, frozen peas, carrots, whatever you have around. I also LOOOOVE white beans. Just toss with peas, salt, pepper, a little olive oil, cheese of course and reserve a little bit of the drained liquid from the can of beans – it really makes a nice addition to the sauce. Have you ever tried black eyed peas? Those are so YUM! You can get them in cans. Oooh…might be a good dish to do pasta, collard greens, sausage and some black eyed peas for more of a southern twist!


7 Nikki July 23, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Congratulations on discovering collards. I live in the South, too, and I have a great recipe on my blog for collards. It doesn’t involve pasta or sausage, but the greens are highlighted with turkey bacon, red pepper flakes, and vinegar.


8 Rachelle ~ "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" July 24, 2008 at 1:35 am

What an easy recipe, I’ll have to mark this one! Thanks for sharing!


9 Tarah July 24, 2008 at 9:04 am

Such a beautiful dish!! I really love this recipe! :]


10 Natalie July 27, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Hello! Thank you so much for this recipe. We had it for dinner tonight and it was delicious!!


11 Hannah December 1, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Made it last week and it was SOOOO good. Making it again tonight only this time, I doubt there will be any leftovers!


12 Boris Diaw August 30, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Southern Italians like making this recipe with broccoli rabe, which is essentially the same thing as collard greens but more bitter/flavorful. Try it, it’s pretty tasty.


13 cmg54 January 22, 2010 at 9:00 am

What an easy and great recipe! Since I wanted to make a vegetarian version of this, I used Tofurky Spicy Italian Sausages instead. Since, the tofurky’s are fully cooked, I skipped the boiling the sausage step and directly browned the sausage slices. The result was very yummy.


14 Nichole June 29, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Thank you! I received collard greens in my last Boston Organics delivery so I am so making this tomorrow night!


15 Jen July 26, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Thank you for this recipe! I’ve never “done” collard greens, and this was a wonderful recipe to introduce me to this lovely green! I added mushrooms, onion and sun-dried tomatoes (extras I wanted to clear out of my fridge, to make room in there again for my farmer’s market bootie!), but the rest was the same. Loved it! Thank you, again!


16 Kayla July 12, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I just made this & it was sooooo yummy! I made it w/kielbasa & added sauteed onions. Next time I may use swiss chard but overall an A+ recipe!


17 Tracee May 9, 2012 at 10:33 am

A misplaced Texan living above the Mason-Dixon line hoping she can even find some collard greens because now you’ve got my mouth watering. I’ll have to sub in some smoked sausage just because that’s the way I roll…and throw in some garlic infused olive oil and some roasted garlic so the big guy will eat it. Thanks for the grand idea!!


18 Krystianne March 6, 2013 at 11:02 am

I cannot wait to make this for lunch today!
Just a hint for next time you get a crop of collard greens, look up a Portuguese soup called Caldo Verde. It’s a childhood favorite of mine and so therapeutic when you’re feeling a little down in the dumps.


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