“Years ago nobody ate kale, at least nobody we knew,” write Peter Kaminsky and Marie Rama in Bacon Nation. “But with the growth of locally sourced food and farmers‘ markets we’ve discovered just how great this readily available late-season green is.”
Fettuccine with Bacon and Kale
Adapted from Peter Kaminsky‘s and Marie Rama’s Bacon Nation: 125 Irresistible Recipes, published by Workman Publishing.
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2“ pieces
8 ounces kale, touch stems and ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped
8 ounces fettuccine
3 medium-size garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup finely, freshly grated Pecorino Romano
freshly grated nutmeg
Bring 4 to 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, place the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until lightly browned and most of the fat is rendered, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring often and adjusting the heat as necessary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving the bacon fat in the skillet.
Salt the boiling water. Add the kale and blanch it, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the kale to a colander to drain without discarding the water.
Add the fettuccine to the boiling water and cook according to package directions.
Meanwhile, add enough olive oil to the bacon fat to total 3 tablespoons. Heat over medium heat for 1 minute, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the blanched kale and crushed red pepper flakes and toss the kale until it is thoroughly coated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the bacon and let simmer until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.
When the pasta is done, set aside 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the fettuccine and return it to the pot over low heat. Add the kale mixture to the drained pasta and toss to combine. Add the Pecorino Romano and about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin the sauce as desired.
Divide the pasta among serving bowls, grating a little nutmeg over each portion. Serve the pasta immediately with more Pecorino Romano on the side for those who want it.