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The Chopped Dinner Challenge is a new series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!
On this week’s Chopped: Extreme Halloween episode, the competitors found collard greens in their entree round baskets. Luckily we’re not asking you to cook with the rest of the basket ingredients: gummy skulls, sweetbreads and dehydrated weaver ant eggs. The competitors tried to incorporate the collard greens into their dishes, but some were more successful than others. With this recipe for Spaghetti with Sauteed Collards and Bacon, it’s easy to see that the collard greens don’t get lost at all; instead the underappreciated vegetable turns into a star after a little sauteing. You might never want to enjoy your greens any other way!
This supper is simple to put together. While you cook the bacon and the collard greens, put on the pasta water to boil the spaghetti. After you’ve combined the pasta and collards, toss in the cheese and top with the crispy bacon — its salty flavor works nicely to balance out the slight bitterness of the greens. A generous dusting of grated Parmesan and a sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes to taste makes a nice finishing touch tableside.
The whole idea behind the dish is elevating a humble ingredient and making it the center of attention, something that the Chopped judges ask the competitors to do all the time. And there’s no doubt that the collard greens get featured billing. But if you don’t have the greens on hand, kale will make an easy replacement. Best of all about this dish is the cook time: In just 25 minutes, you’ll have something you’re proud to put on the table for your family.
Get the Recipe: Spaghetti with Sauteed Collards and Bacon