Linguine with wilted escarole, spring onion and crispy speck and a lemony, parsley-flecked chickpea and feta salad: a dinner for one quickly scrambled together for this, a moment on the balcony in the last bits of sun, finally here again after days of cool rain and wind.
For the pasta gently fry a slightly crushed clove of garlic and thin sticks of speck – sweet guanciale cubes would be amazing, but any kind of bacon that can be turned into some kind of lardon works – until the garlic is soft and the speck crispy. Fish out both, smashing the garlic and draining the speck on a paper towel. Add a few spring onions to the pan, a big head of escarole, both sliced into broad strips, and, once they are mostly wilted and start to caramelise around the edges, a generous pinch of salt, a splash of white wine and the smashed garlic from before. Put a lid on the pan and braise gently until the salad has completely collapsed into tender ribbons. Taste and grind / grate in some black pepper and lemon zest; maybe add a splash of cream or a piece of cold butter, too, to give the sauce some sweetness and body; or more olive oil and some lemon juice if preferring something a bit fresher (I’d suggest hot chilli flakes in this case instead of the pepper).
Toss in some pasta – I especially liked the linguine I used here – as always cooked just a bit less than al dente and let it simmer for another moment in the sauce so the both of them can properly become one; add a bit pasta water if it needs loosening up.
Serve yourself a generous portion, grate a little parmesan on top and do not forget the lardons (unless you already ate them all while cooking, it does happen). For a vegetarian or vegan version skip the pork altogether and go the lemon and olive oil route instead of adding butter or cream. A topping of breadcrumbs seasoned with garlic, chilli, salt and fried in olive oil until golden and crispy is just as perfect here (Although, thinking of that I probably could not resist melting some anchovies into it).
And since all the real salad has ended up in the pasta I turned some chickpeas into salad, tossing them with very finely diced (red) onion, chopped parsley, lots of lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil and some crumbled feta; next time: a pinch of smoked paprika, too.
#notcontest #pasta #dinner #balconylife