Nov 16, 2016

Orecchiette with Collard Greens, Sausage & Mixed Mushrooms

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
This seasonal dish is filled with collard greens, mushrooms, Italian sausage and Parmesan. It's a flexible dish and can easily be made with what you have left in the fridge.

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There’s nothing like a big bowl of pasta. While pasta is always gratifying, this is especially true during fall and winter. I love coming home on a chilly day and making this warming and “not entirely bad for you” seasonal dish that is filled with orecchiette pasta, collard greens, mushrooms, Italian sausage and Parmesan. You get all the delicious flavors for a hearty comforting meal with a healthier twist.

Orecchiette with Collard Greens and Mixed Mushrooms

Orecchiette with Collard Greens & Mixed Mushrooms seasonal pasta

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Collard greens – The ribbon-cut greens add a brightness as well as a healthy aspect to the dish. Collard greens are best when they are in season during winter; they work well with the earthiness of the assorted mushrooms. I like to blanch the collards before adding them to the pasta because it is an efficient way to wilt them evenly. Cooking the pasta in the remaining water adds a little bit of the flavor from the greens to the orecchiette. To make this dish vegetarian, omit the sausage.
  • Parmesan – Parmesan-Reggiano is definitely one of my favorite cheeses. It’s a hard cow’s milk cheese aged for different lengths of time. I’d recommend buying a roughly cut piece of wrapped cheese from the grocery store – it’s typically a higher quality cheese.
  • Sausage – I use mild Italian sausage with the casings removed in this recipe though you can swap it with hot Italian to bring up the heat level. I use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage as it cooks in the pan.
  • Mushrooms – I use a combination of shiitake and crimini also known as baby Bella mushrooms in this recipe. Crimini have a meatier, earthier mushroom flavor compared to white mushrooms. Shiitakes add earthy, buttery flavor. I recommend buying whole mushrooms and slicing them yourself so they are more evenly cut than pre-cut mushrooms. Use a damp paper towel to wipe away dirt before slicing the mushrooms.
  • Pasta – I use orecchiette in this recipe which translates to “little ears” for the shape they resemble. This type of pasta is associated with Apulia, the southern Italian region. I love how it pairs with the ingredients in this dish. If you can’t find orecchiette substitute with another pasta of your choice like shells or Conchiglie.

pasta closeup sausage collard greens mushrooms

How to Make Orecchiette with Collard Greens, Sausage & Mixed Mushrooms

  1. Blanch the greens. Thoroughly wash the collards then cut into a chiffonade. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over medium heat. Blanch the collards, remove from the water and pat dry then set aside. Reserve the water used to blanch the collards (it will be light green.)
  2. Cook the pasta. Heat the large pot with the “collard water” and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with one tablespoon of the olive oil.
  3. Cook the sausage. Place a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add a tablespoon of the olive oil and heat through. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the sausage, until browned, about 8 minutes.
  4. Return pan to heat. Remove from pan, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible and set the sausage aside, returning the pan to heat. Add the remaining oil and heat through.
  5. Cook the mushrooms. Add the shallots, garlic and mushrooms to the pan and sauté, until the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the greens back to the pan.
  6. Combine the ingredients. Add the sausage and mushroom mixture to the pot of cooked pasta, stirring to combine. Add a little of the pasta water if needed. Stir in half of the Parmesan cheese then add the crushed red pepper and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve. Serve in warmed pasta bowls topped with the remaining Parmesan.

Orecchiette with sausage Collard Greens and Mixed Mushrooms

Tips and Tricks for This Pasta

  • This recipe is flexible, meaning you can easily substitute other ingredients in this dish.
  • Substitute the collard greens for curly kale, Tuscan kale, Swiss chard or broccoli rabe. Just be sure to remove the thick stems from the greens.
  • If you only have one kind of mushroom to include, that’s ok!
  • Substitute the sweet Italian sausage for hot Italian sausage for some added heat.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Orecchiette with Collard Greens and Mixed Mushrooms

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch collard greens, about 9 ounces
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ pound sweet pork Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 12 ounces mixed mushrooms, sliced (I use crimini and shiitake)
  • Kosher salt as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper as needed
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions:

  • Thoroughly wash the collards then cut into a chiffonade. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over medium heat. Blanch the collards, remove from the water and pat dry then set aside. Reserve the water used to blanch the collards (it will be light green.)
  • Heat the large pot with the “collard water” and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the water. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with one tablespoon of the olive oil.
  • Place a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add a tablespoon of the olive oil and heat through. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the sausage, until browned, about 8 minutes.
  • Remove from pan, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible and set the sausage aside, returning the pan to heat. Add the remaining oil and heat through.
  • Add the garlic, shallots and mushrooms to the pan and sauté, until the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the greens back to the pan.
  • Add the sausage and mushroom mixture to the pot of cooked pasta, stirring to combine. Add a little of the pasta water if needed. Stir in half of the Parmesan cheese then add the crushed red pepper and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve in warmed pasta bowls topped with the remaining Parmesan.

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  1. We made this last night for dinner. After eating everything and anything over the holidays it was nice to get some greens. This was so delicious. Such great flavor. Will absolutely make this again and again!

  2. Hey Kylie, I recently discovered CWCR and am inspired. I doubled this Orecchiette recipe on a Wednesday night and my family loved the change up from our usual pasta dishes. I used baby spinach instead of collard greens since the spinach was on hand. Best of all, I had enough to take to work the next day. Thank you!