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Spaghetti with Bacon and Chard

Bacon and chard are the stars of this quick pasta dinner. Smokey bacon flavors creamy sauce with sharp Pecorino cheese that coats swirls of spaghetti and the earthy greens. It's a decadent way to eat your veggies.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

1 large bunch or 1 1/2 pounds large, leafy Swiss chard

1/2 pound meaty bacon, Oscar's Smoke House preferred brand 

2 tablespoons EVOO or butter 

1 onion, white or yellow 

1 leek 

4 cloves garlic 

Salt and pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons thyme 

1/2 cup white wine 

1/2 cup stock, optional 

1 pound spaghetti 

1 cup pecans 

About 3/4 cup heavy cream 

About 1 cup grated Pecorino cheese, plus more for serving

Red Wine Spritzer, for serving, recipe follows

Red Wine Spritzer:

4 ounces dry, fruity red wine, like Valpolicella or your favorite red

2 ounces brandy 

1/2 ounce simple syrup 

3 to 4 allspice berries 

Juice of 1/2 an orange 

1/2 cup chilled seltzer 

Directions

  1. Gather your ingredients.
  2. Place a large pot of water on to boil for pasta.
  3. Stem the chard. Chop the stems. Coarsely chop the greens and keep separate.
  4. Stack the bacon and cut the bacon into batons 1/8 to 1/4-inch wide.
  5. Peel and chop the onion. Halve the leek lengthwise and trim the tough green tops. Run the leek under the water and wash thoroughly. Chop the leek, whites and light greens. Peel the garlic and grate or chop.
  6. Heat a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and render, then remove from pan, if desired. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in pan, drain off excess if there is any.
  7. Add EVOO or butter to pan and add the stems, onions, leeks and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and thyme and soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add wine and stock if using and let it absorb.
  8. Salt boiling water and cook pasta to 1 minute less than package directions for al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup starchy water.
  9. Toast nuts while pasta cooks in small skillet over moderate heat.
  10. Add cream to sauce, wilt the greens into stems and add a little nutmeg. Return bacon to pan. Drain pasta and add to sauce and greens with reserved water and cheese. Toss pasta 1 minute. Adjust seasoning and serve topped with chopped toasted nuts and pass more cheese at table.

Red Wine Spritzer:

  1. To a shaker, add wine, brandy, simple syrup, allspice and orange juice. Shake it up. Pour into a wine glass and top with seltzer.