Spring Greens and Pasta (Oxford, August 19, 2011)

August has been busier than I thought and as a consequence I’ve left the blog without a post now for three weeks. I promise that I will not be so lax in September! This week I have a very simple, easy and inexpensive recipe to share for those of you with a busy schedule and a shortage of cash.

A few notes: the proportion of pasta is small, and you’ll notice that I put pasta last in the title. This is because I’m definitely a “more sauce than pasta” kind of person. I was lucky enough to have homemade pasta available, thanks to the pasta-making skills of my friend Nik Mastroddi, but if you can’t get that I’d recommend using a brown wheat pasta rather than the super-refined kind. I used spring greens, which have broad, flat, slightly waxy leaves. I’ve only seen in the UK, but you could easily substitute collard greens if you’re in North America, or kale.

Spring Greens and Pasta 

Ingredients (for two people)

1 large bunch spring greens or other leafy greens for cooking

2 large leeks, trimmed of greens and stumps

3-4 rashers of bacon

1 small handfull of pasta per person (if you’re using a long variety, around 10 strands per person

2 eggs, beaten

1-2 cloves garlic

Olive oil

Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Prepare the greens by rinsing them well- do not pat them dry as you will need some water for steaming. Next, cut out the fibrous stems at their bases. These won’t hurt you but they aren’t so good in this dish as they clash with the consistency of the pasta. After cutting out the stems, shred the greens finely. If you’re using broad-leafed greens like I did, roll them up like a cigar and then chop finely across to get a good shred. Chop the leeks into fine rings.

Bring a pot of water to the boil for the pasta. While the pasta water is getting ready, cook the bacon in a wide frying pan. Add a bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking. When the bacon crisps, remove it and set it on paper towels to remove the grease. Leave about a tablespoon of grease in the pan to cook the greens. Chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces.

Add the garlic and leeks to the hot pan and fry, stirring constantly, until the leeks become translucent. Then add the greens and bacon. Stir this around, season with salt to taste, and reduce the heat to medium and then cover the pan, steaming the greens for around 10 minutes.

By now, the water should be ready for the pasta. When the pasta is done, drain it, rinse and then add it to the pan of vegetables. Reduce the heat to low and add the beaten eggs, stirring constantly so that they begin to cook but don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When the eggs have cooked through, remove from the heat, season with black pepper, and serve immediately.

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