Jun 4, 2009

melting greens with pancetta

Even though I live in California, it's June and the fog has rolled in. In fact lately we've had rain and thunderstorms, a little strange for this time of year. So, while the sun usually peeks out in the afternoon sometime I am ready for a perfectly sunny warm day. That being said I don't crave the crisp greens of salads and the taste of summer when the skies are gray. Instead I look for comfort foods and warmth.

Yesterday this recipe did the trick, and thankfully I was able to use the beet and carrot greens left over from last weeks veggies. I found the Melting Greens recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper. Its easy, and comforting, and yet still feels clean - like your treating yourself right.

Recipe for Melting Greens with Pancetta
Adapted from The Splendid Table

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped pancetta
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 whole dried chile*
1 bunch of greens (beet and carrot tops, chards, kales, or sturdy greens all work)
1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Film the later of a large sauce pan with the oil and heat. While heating the oil add the pancetta until slightly browned. Add the garlic and the chile and saute very briefly.

Add the broth and the greens. The greens will shrink as they cook down so be sure to add more than you think. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes or until greens are tender. Add more liquid if needed to ensure that greens are not burning.

Before serving remove the chile and season the greens generously with salt and pepper. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Alison's Notes:
* I used a dried Pasilla chile because it was in my pantry, but any red or green dried chile would work. This is mainly for flavor not spice so I don't think you have to be particular.

(photography: alison clayshulte)

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