This weekend, as I sat planning the weekly menu, I was trying to figure out just what to do with all the collards in my fridge. You see, in Arizona, we are knee deep in the dark greens season. My farmshare (CSA) supplies with me loads each week! And the collards and swiss chard leaves are the size of bicycle wheels! (you think I'm kidding...but I'm not).
So I began to wonder if I could shred the collards into thin strands like spaghetti, and use it in place of a noodle. Now–I have never seen or heard of this before, so I felt pretty excited about this new ingenious use of my massive collards the size of elephant ears.
So, I shredded them into strips and made a delicious carbonara sauce. The result was wonderful. The "noodles" twist around your fork just like spaghetti, and because they are just barely cooked, they have this chewey bite (al dente) that gives you the same satisfaction of pasta, but with a bit of crunch. I declare this new collard-ccine (think fettucine) to be the new cousin to the spaghetti squash!
This recipe does have more fat and cholesterol than I usually make a mid-week meal of, however, it is an out-of-the-park calcium, iron, and protein power house of a dinner.
"Pasta" Carbonara | Makes 4 servings.
- 3 slices bacon, diced
- 3 medium eggs
- ¾ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 tsp pepper
- ½ cup milk
- ½ jar of anchovies, or 1 tbs paste
- 1 heaping tbs garlic
- ½ tsp red chili flake
- ¼ cup basil leaves, fresh
- 4 large bunches of collard greens or Swiss chard leaves–with very large leaves.
DirectionsThe large leaves allow for a long strand-like a noodle. Roll all the leaves together and slice into think strips. Set aside.
In a small bowl stir together the eggs, parmesan, pepper, and milk.
Then, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add some olive oil, then the bacon, anchovies, and chili flake. Sauté till the bacon is crisp. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute more.
Add the strips of greens to the skillet and sauté, very quickly, about 45-seconds to a minute. (It may seem as though they will not fit, but they cook down a lot, and will fit when they are cooked down). When they are just wilted, add the milk and eggs mixture, and using tongs, constantly stir the mixture with the greens until it comes together in a thick and creamy sauce on the greens, it takes a few more minutes. Turn off the heat, and toss in the basil. Serve.
I served mine with a chicken Italian sausage I cooked, but it’s hearty enough to serve on its own!