Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Baked Rotini with Ricotta and Collard Greens

Spinach is one of my favorite foods, and I've been thinking for some time now about branching off and trying other members of the dark leafy greens family. Where I live, collard greens are usually prepared with a ham hock, so when I saw this meal, I was excited that it was a different preparation than I've traditionally seen. Plus, I knew I'd be able to find collard greens in my grocery store. Sure enough, I found them easily and they were CHEAP.

Joe actually preferred the collard greens to spinach because they maintain their structure better and don't get as slimy and mushy. The taste is slightly earthier, and they add heartiness to the pasta. With three cheeses, the pasta was deliciously creamy. I'm craving some right now just thinking about it.

Baked Rotini with Ricotta and Collard Greens
source: Stinkerpants Designs via The Kitchn

  • 1 (16-ounce) package rigatoni or penne pasta
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound collard greens, washed, drained, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (I used part-skim)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (I used low-fat)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Prepare pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

2. Heat butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; sauté onion 5 minutes or until just brown. Add garlic, and cook about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add greens; cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until greens are tender, stirring occasionally.

3. Sprinkle greens with flour. Cook uncovered, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring well. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in cooked pasta, mozzarella, and next 5 ingredients. Place into prepared dish, and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.

4. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes.


Becca said...

Looks great! =)

Liz said...

I also love collard greens and how they hold their shape!

I have a good collard greens and bacon pasta recipe for when you get back to eating meat :)

Daniel said...

You've discovered one of the most underappreciated leafy green veggies in the entire produce section! Hard to believe such a healthy green can cost as little as a dollar for an enormous bunch. It's one of my all-time favorites.

Can't wait to see your next few recipes... I have a hunch you didn't quite use up all your collards with this dish... :)

Casual Kitchen

Evelyn said...

Hey Kira,
I've been enjoying your food blog, and I might just have to start one myself. I didn't really grow up with greens other than spinach, but about two years ago I "discovered" them, and they're awesome. You should definitely branch out into kale, chard, beet greens, etc. The first time I try a new green, I always prepare it very simply: Heat a little bit of oil in a skillet on medium heat, toss the washed and chopped greens in, and let them wilt. Then I taste them and decide what works best. For chard, and beet greens, I like a little lemon zest. For kale, I often saute some onion before I throw the greens in, and all greens are delicious finished with a little toasted sesame oil and coarse salt. Oh, how I love greens!

Kerstin said...

What a great comfort food dish - I love how you lightened it up! I haven't used collard greens at home before, but I should - they sound good!

Mary Ellen said...

This looks delicious. I don't think I have ever had collard greens but think I need to try them.

Joelen said...

What a great way to incorporate collard greens in a pasta dish!

That Girl said...

I love collard greens- they just feel so southern to me.

Liz said...

I finally made this, and we enjoyed it. I love trying new vegetarian main dishes. Thanks for sharing!