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.