We all know that greens are good for us, whether we are talking about spinach, swiss chard, mustard greens, kale or chicory. I use some type of greens in my recipes at least a couple of times a week, and was lucky enough to find a bunch of baby chicory, or dandelion greens at the market in Deruta. I decided to use the greens in a pasta dish for dinner that evening, along with some sun-dried tomatoes and diced pancetta.
You could use any greens you prefer you this recipe, but the cooking time will vary depending on the type of greens you use. Mustard greens, kale, or older chicory will require more cooking to tenderize the greens, while baby greens of any variety, spinach, or swiss chard will only require a quick blanching.
I made my own fresh pasta for this dish, see my recipe for Homemade Egg Pasta, and added two tablespoons of dried Calabrian chili pepper to my dough which created a nice rich golden colored pasta with a little extra spice. If you are short on time however, feel free to use any quality brand store bought fresh pasta, or even dried spaghetti for this dish. As a general rule, allow 115g-150g, or 4oz-5oz fresh pasta per person.
- 1 Bunch Greens (I Used Baby Chicory) - About 2 Cups Cooked
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 6 Large Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Diced
- 1/4 Cup Diced Pancetta
- 3 Large Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Minced
- 2 Red Hot Peppers, Minced
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Pound Pasta (See Note Above)
- Freshly Grated Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese
- Trim the greens, and coarsely chop.
- Bring a pasta pot of salted water to a boil, drop the greens in, and cook until tender.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the greens from the water and drain well.
- In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil, and add the pancetta, and cook until the pancetta is cooked and light brown.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, then add the sun-dried tomatoes, and hot peppers, and cook over very low heat.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring the pasta water to a boil again, and cook the pasta until it is "al dente".
- Reserve a small cup of the pasta water, then drain well.
- Return the pasta to the pot, and add the greens and sun-dried tomato mixture, tossing well to mix.
- Add a little of the pasta water to moisten and toss well.
- Serve in individual bowls and pass the grated cheese at the table.