Orecchiette with Collard Greens and Sausage

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This week really got away from me. I am currently in the process of writing my second novel and my first cookbook. On top of that I do cooking demonstrations on a few local news and entertainment programs in Charlotte. If that wasn’t enough, I also cart my two boys back and forth to school and to various sporting events they compete in. And just so I don’t have too much free time, I watch my 3-year-old niece three days a week for my sister. There’s a bunch of other stuff that I do as well, but if I mentioned them all it would look like I was just showing off.

Sometimes I feel like my week is made up of one continuously long day. Each day just runs into the next. This past week was definitely a blur. Last Monday after I finished my cooking segment on Charlotte Today, my intention was to go back home and post the recipe for the dish I prepared. As life would have it, I got sidetrack. Six days later, I’m finally getting around to posting the recipe for Orecchiette with Collard Greens and Sausage. I know I should have posted my recipe before the show aired, but I didn’t. Stuff happens.

Fortunately, the dish was worth the wait. I have to give myself a pat on the back for this one. This recipe is a hearty and savory pot of satisfying goodness. The sautéed collard greens and anchovy paste (secret ingredient) enhance the umami of this quick and flavorful pasta dish. It’s just one of those meals that belongs in the dinner rotation on a regular basis.

My plan this coming week is to free up my schedule, so I can focus on writing my books and tending to the requisite mom stuff that I am honored to do. Hopefully, this will slow me down long enough to enjoy the upcoming days instead of watching them whiz by at a dizzying speed.

Let me know when you make this recipe. Take a picture and hashtag it #QUEENCITYKITCHEN. I can’t wait to see what you post!

Orecchiette with Collard Greens and Sausage
Makes 8 servings

1 bunch collard greens (about 1 pound)
Kosher salt
1 pound orecchiette pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse-ground pepper
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

Wash the greens thoroughly in warm water. Cut off the stems, then stack several leaves on top of each other. Roll the leaves together and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the collard greens and cook for 2 minutes to blanch. Drain the greens in a colander, shaking off any excess water. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside until ready to use. (You can use the greens water to cook the pasta. I prefer to change out the water for the pasta.)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Reserve 1½ cups pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Set aside until ready to use.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon, and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage to a plate. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook until tender, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, anchovy paste and red pepper flakes.

Add the collard greens and ½ cup of pasta water, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the sausage and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, add the pasta and 1 cup of the remaining pasta water, stirring to coat. Toss the pasta with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese on the side.


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