Last night I wanted to use a big portion of my greens from my CSA box from Good Work Farm (see top right of my blog for more information). I was craving greens, and, if it were totally up to me, I would have been very happy to simply saute them in some extra-virgin olive oil and garlic, and eat them with a poached egg and a slice of good bread.
However, I live with people who also have a say in what we have for dinner. It is true that in the kitchen, I rule, and although sometimes I make exactly what I please, I generally concede when I am begged to do otherwise, or at least compromise. I suppose last night’s dinner could be called the greatest compromise.
I got my wish for greens, my daughter, her request for creamy pasta, and my son was happy with anything which included sausage! (my man Dave is away for a few days so I didn’t have to include anything spicy on top of everything else!)
I loved the taste of the greens with the strong cheese, and, as I looked about me I felt I had satisfied everyone’s particular need for a certain craving. I also made enough for an army, so we had better be content to have the same thing for lunch today.
You will Need: 2 – 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 lb seasoned sausage (your choice; sweet Italian or any herb or garlic infused variety), casing removed and torn into bite-sized bits, 3 bunching onions or 4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced, 1 bunch red chard (6-8 leaves), center rib removed and roughly chopped, 1 big bunch fresh spinach (6 cups approx), washed, 3 tbs unsalted butter, 3 tbs all-purpose flour, 3 cups milk (any %), 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated, 1 lb pasta shells (I used large shells by Barilla), coarse salt (I used Maldon), freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat oven 375*
Put big pot of water on to boil for pasta shells. cook according to instructions. when cooked, drain, and rinse with cold water. Leave to drain until ready to assemble dish.
1 – In the meantime, put saute pan (at least 12″) on low/medium heat and add 2 tbs of oil. Add onions or scallions and cook for 7 minutes.
2 – Turn heat up to medium and add red chard. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add spinach and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove all greens to a plate and set aside.
3 – Add last tbs of oil and add sausage. Saute until it has cooked; about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
4 – Turn heat down and add the butter. When it has melted, add the flour and whisk quickly until you have a smooth paste. Add the milk one cup ar a time and stir until the liquid is smooth.
5 – Turn heat to medium and cook the sauce for about 10 minutes. Take off of heat and stir in the cheese. Taste sauce for addition of salt and pepper.
Assemble the Dish in a casserole as follows:
Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. Take out and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.