Thursday, July 14, 2011

Spaghetti with Collard Greens and Sausage

I wanted a slightly healthier pasta so I figured collards and whole wheat pasta would make a delicious combo. Most people don't like collard greens since they're generally cooked down until the texture is like baby food, but what I realized from the Brazilians is the collards texture should be like a properly cooked green bean - not mushy and not crunchy either. This provides a nice mouth feel with the sweetness and almost nuttiness the collards have which goes well with the spicy sausages - the sausage replaces the traditional ham hock in southern greens. It's such an addicting pasta that is relatively healthy for you - I guarantee you'll eat a couple bowls worth of this bad boy in one sitting.

1/2 box whole wheat spaghetti
1 bunch collard greens cut into bite sized pieces
2 carrots diced
4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
2 links hot sausage
1/2 cup water
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1) Start a pot of water to boil - heavily season with sea salt.

2) Sear sausage over medium heat in a second heavy bottom pot until nicely browned on both sides. Add olive oil to the pan. Remove sausage from the bowl and set aside.

3) Add carrots to the pot with the sausage fat and cook until soft - about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4) Drop garlic in for 15 seconds and then the collard greens. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes until slightly wilted. Add the sausage back in, add the water and cover for 15 minutes so the sausage steams. You want the sausage cooked 3/4 of the way since you're going to finish them in the broiler. As usual taste the collards to make sure the texture is to your liking.

5) Put the sausages under the broiler for 5 minutes until it gets crisped up. Let rest for 5 minutes and slice up. This three step sausage cooking technique may seem a bit much, but it leads to a phenomenal sausage. The first sear lets out some sausage fat which flavors the collards. The second steaming ensures the sausage is moist. The final broiling ensures you get a crispy surface without drying the sausage out. Add the sausage back in the pot with the collards.

5) Drop pasta in to the boiling water when you place the sausage underneath the broiler. Cook the pasta for 1 minute less than the recommended time on the box. Add the pasta to the collards and sausage mixture and finish with parmiggiano and the olive oil. Buono appetito!

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