Collard Green and Cherry Pasta
Eating seasonally is amazing – you truly get the best quality produce when you make sure it’s in season. But doing so has its drawbacks. Like endless green beans.
Every year, around August, I get incredibly sick of summer vegetables. I get to the point where I feel like I’m going to be sick if I have to eat another yellow squash. Even the sight of okra makes me want to scream.
Then fall comes and brings along some of my favorite produce. Dark leafy greens. Winter squash. But by February, I’m as tired of the winter veggies as I am of the cold, dreary weather.
Right now I’m at a point where I am just done eating dark, leafy greens. I want spring vegetables, and I want them *now*. My produce delivery box is slowly making the change to spring, but lately I have been flush with greens.
Normally I just saute my greens with garlic and olive oil, maybe toss in a pinch of chili flakes, and call it a side dish. But when two huge bunches of collards showed up in my last produce box, I knew I had to do something different with at least one of them. So I got to work searching.
I came up with a dish that turned the collards into a main course by adding pasta. You toss in some dried cherries to change up the flavor a bit. I topped the whole thing with goat cheese because a. I had goat cheese and b. Neko and I love goat cheese. The result surprised me. I really loved the combo of the salty greens and the sweet cherries. Throw in the creamy goat cheese and crispy garlic chips and the whole dish comes together perfectly. I’ll definitely have to remember this one next winter when I get the leafy green blahs again.
Luckily for me, Neko loves greens. She calls them all “kale,” even though I try to explain the difference. While she likes her spinach raw, she is happy eating cooked collards, chard and kale, stuffing in bite after bite like a good southern girl. It’s kind of surprising, especially since I never cook my greens in bacon. I’m afraid if I ever do, she’ll never let me go back. My husband doesn’t cook much, but he does make bacon for breakfast on the weekends, and for this reason, Neko has dubbed him “the best cooker ever.”
Collard and Cherry Pasta
adapted from Gourmet magazine
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
½ medium onion, chopped
½ cup dried tart cherries
1 bunch collard greens
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
½ cup water
4 oz. goat cheese
Start your pasta water boiling.
Wash your collard greens, remove the stems and coarsely chop the leaves.
Heat the oil in a 12-in. skillet over low moderate heat and cook the garlic slices till they’re crispy and starting to turn golden, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the garlic chips with a slotted spoon and set them on a paper towel.
Saute the onion in the hot oil for about 5 minutes, till onion starts to soften. Add in your dried cherries and cook for another 2 minutes, then add in the collard greens, water, salt and pepper.
Put the lid on your pan and let the greens cook until they are tender, about 5-8 minutes.
Cook your spaghetti per package instructions while the greens cook. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
Toss the spaghetti and the ½ cup reserved pasta water together with the greens and cherries in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with the garlic chips and crumbled goat cheese on top. (I left the garlic off Neko’s – it’s a pretty strong flavor.)