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Spaghetti with Escarole and Bacon

Yield 4
Crisp bacon complements escarole so well that you may be tempted to sauté the greens in the bacon fat, but don't do it; the bacon will then overwhelm the greens completely. Use olive oil instead, which will bring all the flavors together.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 head escarole (about 1 1/2 pounds), leaves cut into 1/2-inch strips (about 3 quarts)
  • 2/3 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon butter

How to Make It

  1. In a large deep frying pan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon. Pour off all the fat from the pan.

  2. In the same pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic, red-pepper flakes, and anchovy paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the escarole, a little at a time, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta; add it to the pan with the escarole. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the Parmesan, bacon, and butter.

  4. Variations

  5. · Stir in a cup of drained canned cannellini beans when you add the broth in Step : · Add two tablespoons of chopped fresh basil just before serving.

  6. Wine Recommendation: Italian white wines were made for dishes like this one. Soave, Orvieto, Frascati--all are based on the trebbiano grape and have the crisp, neutral, refreshing taste and light body that allow the pasta to take center stage.

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