Pasta with Spring Greens, Bacon & Mustard Seeds


Pasta with Sautéed Greens, Bacon & Mustard Seeds

Intro Collage

“When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is.” ~ Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food


Simple cooking…what does that mean?  Years ago as a new wife learning to cook, eager to entertain with impressive  meals, simple meant average.  A few years later as a new mom {three times over}, learning to juggle diapers, naps, story time and play dates with the need to feed a family, simple meant fast {read:  how many ingredients could I throw into one pot and have it be edible in 30 minutes or less?}.  But as I sit here looking at the cookbooks that surround my desk, their authors {Alice Waters, Deborah Madison, Nigel Slater, Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton, Yotam Ottolenghi} who continue to educate me in the preparation of wonderful food, I realize that I have come to regard simple cooking as respectful…of seasonality, sourcing, freshness and preparation.

This evening’s pasta is simple.  With so few ingredients, quality {crisp greens, fresh cheese, pungent garlic and shallots} and preparation are key.  In his book, Polpo, A Venetian Cookbook, Russell Norman elevates cooking pasta to an art form in his recipe for Linguine Vongole {linguine with clams}…

“It’s all about timing.  Get a deep pan of salted water on the boil…When your water has started to fully boil, place the linguine in carefully and stir slowly once or twice.  Add a slug of olive oil to the water and bring down to a gentle boil…When the pasta has been boiling for 3½ minutes, it means it has about 3½ more minutes to go before being perfectly al dente.  It is essential that neither the clams nor the pasta overcook.  Be very strict with timings.  Drain the pasta, just retaining a small amount of the cooking water.  Quick.  Toss the pasta…”

Cooking the few ingredients in layers, as I did this evening, and tossing them together once they have achieved the pinnacle of flavor will leave you with an extraordinary meal.

Sautéed Greens with Bacon & Mustard Seeds {adapted from Food & Wine}

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 hot red chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1¼ pounds mixed baby spinach and lacinato kale {stems and inner ribs removed, leaves cut into ribbons}
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  1. In a large skillet, cook the diced bacon in the olive oil over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the shallot, chile and mustard seeds and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the kale, season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing frequently, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in the vinegar and set aside while you prepare the pasta.

Sauteed Greens Collage

Pasta with Sautéed Greens {adapted from Food & Wine}

  • 1 pound pasta {I used Farfalle}
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • Sautéed Greens with Bacon and Mustard Seeds
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the garlic in the olive oil over moderate heat until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  3. Add the cooked pasta, crème fraîche, greens and the reserved pasta water. Cook, tossing, for 2 minutes. Stir in the cheese and serve.


And the finished dinner plate…




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