Pasta with Braised Greens

published Jan 11, 2022
Pasta with Braised Greens Recipe

This cheesy pasta dish is a weeknight dinner crowd-pleaser.

Serves4

Prep5 minutes

Cook40 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
bowls of pasta with braised greens at the table
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Here’s how to eat two pounds of dark leafy greens without even realizing it. When they cook and cook over a low temperature with plenty of big-flavor ingredients, they slouch, sweeten, and take on a richness that will help you forget all about those jaw workouts required for kale salads.

The greens are braised with onion, hot smoked paprika, tomato paste, and sun-dried tomatoes for an umami-filled, smoky mix that’s slightly reminiscent of bacon. After the greens are tossed with the pasta, the dish is brightened with a little lemon juice and — because sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese have been buddies since the ‘80s — gets creamy with pockets of goat cheese. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Pasta with Braised Greens Recipe

This cheesy pasta dish is a weeknight dinner crowd-pleaser.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    large yellow onion

  • 1/4 cup

    olive oil

  • 2 pounds

    hearty dark, leafy greens (about 2 large bunches), such as kale, mustard, mature spinach, Swiss chard, or collard greens

  • 1/2 cup

    oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (about 3 ounces), plus 2 tablespoons of the oil

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons

    tomato paste, preferably double-concentrated from a tube

  • 2 teaspoons

    hot smoked paprika

  • 1 pound

    dried fettuccine or other long, thin pasta

  • 1/2

    medium lemon

  • 4 ounces

    fresh goat or feta cheese

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice 1 large yellow onion (about 2 cups). Strip the leaves from the stems of 2 pounds hearty dark greens (about 2 large bunches). Coarsely chop the greens. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes.

  2. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, season with 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned at the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.

  3. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, and 2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the greens in batches, stirring between each batch until starting to wilt. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not mushy, 20 to 25 minutes. Taste every so often; if it tastes flat, add a pinch of salt. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

  4. When the greens are almost ready, add 1 pound dried long, thin pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta. (If the greens are done before the pasta, keep cooking them; a few minutes won’t affect them all that much.)

  5. Add the pasta, 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and 2 tablespoons sun dried-tomato oil to the greens. Toss until the pasta is glossy and the greens are evenly distributed, adding more pasta water a tablespoon at a time as needed until saucy.

  6. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 medium lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) over the pasta and toss to combine. Crumble 4 ounces goat or feta cheese (scant 1 cup) into the pasta. Toss just a few times to warm but not completely melt the cheese. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions: 6 thinly sliced garlic cloves can be used instead of onion; cook just until starting to turn light golden-brown.

Make ahead: The greens can be cooked up to 1 week ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Reheat before adding in the pasta.

Vegan: To make it vegan, omit the cheese and add a dribble of non-dairy milk.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.