Pasta alle Erbe
Lidia Bastianich’s rustic pasta recipe from Umbria would typically be made with foraged greens, but certainly chard, spinach and common chicory are delicious in this dish. Collard, dandelion or mustard greens would be good too. (Adapted from Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy, Knopf, 2009.)
Yield: 8 servings, about 1 cup each
Active Time: 40
Total Time: 40
- 1 1/2 pounds quick-cooking leafy greens (about 2 bunches), such as chard, spinach or beet greens
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 plump cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pound dry whole-wheat fettuccine
- 1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
- Put a large pot of water on to boil.
- Wash greens, then pat dry on towels. Remove tough stems and coarsely chop the leaves into strips. You should have 10 to 15 cups of chopped greens, depending on the type.
- Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until starting to color, 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Add greens a few handfuls at a time, stirring to wilt and fit into the pan. Season with salt and crushed red pepper and stir to coat with oil. Cook, stirring once or twice, until all the greens are wilted, 1 to 3 minutes (or longer, depending on the type of greens you’re using).
- Whisk water and tomato paste in a bowl. Pour into the skillet and bring to a boil. Cover and adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook until the greens are tender and the sauce is reduced slightly, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add pasta to the boiling water, stirring and separating the strands. Return the water to a boil over high heat and cook the pasta until barely tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the greens and toss together for a minute or two, until the pasta is coated and fully cooked. If the pasta is too dry, thin the sauce with as much as 1 cup of the reserved pasta water; if too soupy, increase the heat and cook until the sauce thickens.
- Remove from the heat. Sprinkle cheese over the pasta; toss well. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and toss again. Serve immediately, with more cheese, if desired.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (99% daily value), Magnesium (39% dv), Vitamin C (25% dv), Iron (23% dv), Calcium (18% dv), Potassium (17% dv)
2 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 fat