This pasta with guanciale and greens is a spin on one of my favorite recipes “Pasta Alla Gricia” (Pasta with Guanciale). When you add greens to pork and pasta, does that make it healthy? Okay, so maybe not, but it does add another layer of flavor, and it helps you feel like you are eating a complete meal in one bowl.
Guanciale is cured pork jowl, think pancetta, but it’s from a different part of the pig (the jowl). It’s more fatty than pancetta, and I use it more for a flavoring or a back bone to dishes than I use it for the meat. If you can’t find guanciale, then you can use pancetta or even bacon. Bacon has been smoked, where guanciale has only been cured, so bacon will give the dish a different flavor. Also, feel free to use your favorite baby greens, like kale or spinach. I like to use the power greens blend, and it has a mix of spinach, swiss chard and kale. I like the baby greens here because they cook very quickly. This recipe is highly interchangeable, swap out the Pecorino, for Parmesan, the greens for peas, etc. This recipe also takes 30 minutes tops to make and I always have these ingredients on hand (Pecorino and guanciale literally keep forever), so this dinner is a cinch in our house.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 oz guanciale, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
- 20 sage leaves, finely chopped
- 8 oz pasta, your choice
- 5 oz package of baby greens, your choice
- ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Once hot, add guanciale, garlic, and red pepper. Stir frequently and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the guanciale is rendered and golden. If the garlic starts to burn remove it from the pan and add it back later when finishing the sauce.
- Add the sage to the pan and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the greens and stir until just wilted, turn off and remove from the heat.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than the cooking instructions suggest. Drain the pasta very well and add it to the pan with the guanciale. Turn on the heat to medium-high and toss the pasta frequently in the guanciale and greens about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the Pecorino, stir well to combine. Serve while hot.
More pasta recipes here.