1 small onion, cut into ¼” slices
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound washed, tender collard greens or kale
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika (pimentón), or to taste
Fish sauce or good soy sauce, to taste (Or use salt, but these sauces add a lot of depth.)
12 ounces spaghetti or other long pasta
2 eggs (or 3 if you like it good n’ creamy)
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated (or more, to taste)
¼ teaspoon sugar, or to taste (if necessary)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1. In a large sauté pan or Dutch oven, warm the oil over medium-low heat and add the onion. Let it sweat slowly.
2. Meanwhile, strip the greens’ leaves from the stems. Taste a small piece of both the leaves and stem. If they’re tough, like chewing-on-leather tough, you’ll want to cut the greens quite fine and cook them longer. If they’re tender and sweet, then we’re really in business.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add enough salt so that it tastes almost like the sea.
4. Stack the leaves together and roll up like a cigar. Slice the leaves into ribbons about ½” wide, or ¼” if they’re on the firmer side. In a bowl, beat together the eggs with the cheese, a pinch of salt, and plenty of black pepper.
5. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the smoked paprika. Stir to spread it around, then add a few good, healthy shakes of fish sauce or soy sauce. Let the sauce sizzle off and stir in the leaves. Sauté, stirring, until the greens are tender but just a little chewy. Taste them and adjust seasoning with fish sauce, salt and / or sugar, smoked paprika. Turn off heat and reserve, covered.
6. Cook the pasta until al dente and drain, saving a cup of the cooking water. Reheat greens over medium heat, and toss in the pasta—really mix it up to incorporate the two. Off heat, add the egg mixture and stir like the dickens, letting the heat from the pasta thicken the eggs. Add a little of the cooking water to loosen things up and form a smooth sauce. Taste, adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, fish sauce, or cheese, and serve.