Pasta with collard greens and onions [Photo/The New York Times]
A simple thing to do with any type of green is to braise it with onion and garlic in a covered pan, then toss it with pasta or serve with grains. Collards take to this method particularly well, as the slow cooking sweetens them a little. 2 ounces is enough for many, and 3 is substantial.
1 bunch collard greens, stemmed and washed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, preferably a red onion, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced across the grain
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1/2 head green garlic, stalks and papery shells removed, sliced
Freshly ground pepper
8 to 12 ounces pasta, any shape
1/2 cup cooking water from the pasta
1 to 2 ounces Parmesan (to taste)
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add the collard greens. Blanch for 2 minutes, then using a slotted spoon or a skimmer, transfer to a bowl of cold water and drain. Squeeze out excess water and cut crosswise into thin ribbons.
2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large lidded frying pan and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until it is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes, and add a generous pinch of salt, the red pepper flakes and the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute, and add the collard greens and salt and pepper to taste. When the greens begin to sizzle, turn the heat to low, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, cover and continue to simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the greens are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings.
3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Bring the water in the pot back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook al dente, following the timing instructions on the package.
4. Before draining the pasta, ladle 1/2 cup of the cooking water from the pot into the frying pan with the collard greens and onions. Drain the pasta and toss with the greens. Serve, topping each serving with Parmesan to taste.
Yield: 4 servings.
Advance preparation: You can make this through Step 2 several hours or even a day before you cook the pasta. Reheat gently on top of the stove.
Nutritional information per serving (2-ounce pasta servings): 342 calories; 10 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 6 milligrams cholesterol; 51 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 218 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 12 grams protein
Nutritional information per serving (3-ounce pasta servings): 447 calories; 10 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 6 milligrams cholesterol; 73 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 220 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 16 grams protein