A bit bitter, collard greens (relatives of the cabbage plant) tend to be much more nutritious in the colder months, after the first frost, than warmer months. I love these stout greens but they truly need to be accompanied by other, more pronounced, flavors for them to be more enjoyable. That’s why, I believe, they are so often found cooked with salty hams and doused with butter. Traditionally they are enjoyed around New Years in the south, combined with black-eyed peas and cornbread.
Cheese Gnocchi with Collard Greens and Squash
I think you will find the saltiness of the gnocchi combined with the sweetness of the squash makes these collard greens outstanding.
1 large butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch fresh collard greens
2 teaspoons minced garlic in oil
1/4 cup packed, fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 pound cheese gnocchi*
Shaved, grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
Crushed nuts of your choice, optional
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Peel, seed and dice squash into 1/2-inch cubes. Place on a baking pan and spray with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and dd fresh collard greens, cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage, cook for 1 minute more. Toss this mix with the squash in a large bowl.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi until they start to float, about 2-3 minutes. Toss with the squash and collard green mixture and serve. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and some crushed nuts over the top, if desired.
*You can either use my Cheese Gnocchi recipe or buy a pound package of prepared, frozen gnocchi of your choice. Follow package directions for cooking.