Linguine with Swiss Chard & Bacon
I prefer to use red chard in this recipe, because I like the way the red stems add color to the dish. But any variety of chard will do. Likewise, I prepare this dish with linguine, but you could also use fettuccine or regular spaghetti.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 1 lb linguine
- 1 bunch swiss chard
- 4 oz bacon or pancetta, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
- ½ cup pine nuts
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Fill a large soup pot with cold water and add a handful or so of Kosher salt. Stir and taste; it should taste like seawater. Cover the pot and heat the water until it boils.
- Wash and dry the chard, and trim off any thick end stems that protrude past the leaves. But don't remove the stems that run through the leaves themselves. Then slice the leaves crossways into half-inch wide strips.
- Add the pine nuts to a dry sauté pan and heat over medium heat for a minute or two, moving the nuts around, until they are slightly toasted but not burned. Remove the nuts from the hot pan and set aside.
- Add the diced bacon to a cold sauté pan and cook slowly over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, but leave the bacon fat in the pan.
- Drop the linguine into the boiling salted water and cook according to package instructions, about 9 to 12 minutes or until al dente, or tender but still firm to the bite.
- While the pasta cooks, add the swiss chard to the bacon fat and cook until the leaves have softened and reduced in volume quite a bit. Then add the garlic and continue to sauté until the garlic is soft. You can add a tablespoon or butter or olive oil if there's not enough fat to moisten everything.
- Add the bacon back into the swiss chard mixture as well as the toasted pine nuts. Stir to combine and season to taste with Kosher salt and optional red pepper flakes.
- Drain pasta, toss with the swiss chard and bacon mixture, and serve right away, topped with freshly ground black pepper and grated parmesan or pecorino-romano cheese if desired.