Here’s a simple dish that hits the spot as Winter’s chilly dimness comes at us from all directions. It’s a pasta sauce featuring crispy bacon and braised greens.
Here are the ingredients: Bacon that I’ve cut up into little squares and sizzled for twenty or so minutes starting with a bit of olive oil, until they’re that nice golden-brown shade. Then some braising greens: Kale and chard in this case. Note: The proportions in the picture are are wrong, there should be more greens, they always cook down more than I expect. Now, the brown fluid…
You’re going to want some liquid for the braising, and it needs to add flavor. I’ve seen recipes with wine, broth, beer, and so on. So if there’s nothing in the fridge you can always make a bit of broth with bouillon. In this case it’s miso soup, home-made by Lauren because we were too baffed to cook a couple nights ago and ordered in sushi. Worked great.
Braising · It’s a two-stage process: Brown then simmer. Now, if you’ve got a frying pan that you’ve just cooked bacon in, you can discard most of the fat then brown the greens right there. Not for long; a minute is plenty. Then you toss in the braising fluid, which should only half-cover the veggies.
Timing · The preparatory chopping and crisping takes a while; you want to start working on this meal 45 minutes before dinner time. In the ingredients picture you can see that I set the crispy bacon aside.
This evening I was making spaghettini, which only need six or so minutes on the boil. That’s plenty of time do do the braising. So there’s co-ordination required, to get the water boiling and the pan simultaneously hot. I toss the bacon in almost immediately after the broth to share the flavor around, and then when the pasta’s only got a minute or so to go I scoop some of its water into the frying pan too, because I read that something proteins something coating something.
Anyhow, you’re done. Plate the pasta, put the greens and bacon on top, pour some of the fluid over it.