Spaghetti and Collard Greens “Carbonara”

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The recipe and photos in the post come from the lovely blog Steph’s Apartment Kitchen. I couldn’t make myself post a recipe for traditional wilted-to-death collard greens … I just couldn’t. Do real people actually like them like that? Well, I found an alternative for the non-adventurous of us. Hope you enjoy!

Spaghetti and Collard Greens “Carbonara”
Serves 2

1/2 lb spaghetti or bucattini
4 oz. guanciale (cured pork jowls) or pancetta
2 large eggs
1 bunch collard greens, washed and dried
1 small shallot, diced
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan reggiano and/or pecorino romano
olive oil
lots of freshly cracked black pepper
salt

Bring to boil a large pot of [heavily] salted water. While you are waiting for this to boil, prepare your shallots. Then, your collard greens. Cut the leaves away from the stems. Stack these on top of each other and roll, like a cigar. Chiffonade into thin ribbons. Also, dice up the guanciale.

In a large, shallow pan, heat up some olive oil on medium high heat. Add your shallots and guanciale. Stir until brown and crispy at the edges and the mixture is fragrant. Now, add the chiffonaded collard greens. Sautee around until soft. Add a generous pinch of salt and lots of pepper. Stir it around as it wilts. Once it’s cooked and soft, turn off the heat.

Once the water is boiling, add your spaghetti. Cook until just before al dente. Using tongs, add this to your sautee pan along with a 1/2 cup or so of the pasta water.

Working quickly, add your two eggs directly to the pasta. Pour the grated cheese right over. Using tongs again, break up the eggs and mix it up in the pasta, coating everything. The egg shouldn’t scramble at all, since the burner is off. Be sure to constantly move the pasta around. If it gets dry at all, add more pasta water. It should be nice and glossy, as depicted in the above picture. Another generous heap of freshly cracked black pepper.

The pasta should be nice and creamy, with strong pepper flavor . Taste. Add more salt if necessary. Top with more black pepper before serving.

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