Bacon and pasta makes my family happy, and Swiss chard is healthy so this cream bacon and chard pasta is a compromise dinner. A little bit naughty because of bacon and heavy cream, a little bit healthy because of the vitamin packed Swiss chard and I also sneak in either whole wheat or high protein pasta. This is a rich dish that no one can stop eating, it’s addictive. I serve it with a crisp and clean white wine and that’s it. Keep it simple! I have tried adding a salad but no one eats it, they just want more pasta.
If you have not cooked much with Swiss chard I highly recommend it, chard has a rich and woody flavor that pairs so nicely with smoky bacon in everything from this pasta to a salad. The stems of the chard are hard and too tough to eat raw, so you will need to strip the leaves off the stems. You can discard the stems, but why? Once sautéed they are a nice addition to the dish adding some more veg to your big bowl of pasta. If chard is not for you then opt for some spinach in its place in this dish.
Creamy Bacon and Chard Pasta
- 8-12 slices of bacon diced
- 2 large onions chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic diced
- 1 large bunch of Swiss chard leaves stripped from the stems
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 tbsp butter
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or other hard cheese
- 1 tsp Italian spice blend
- Lots of fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ cup pasta water
Start by putting a large pot of salted water on to boil for your pasta. Dice up the bacon, onions and garlic. In a pan over medium high heat fry the diced bacon until crispy. Then remove the bacon to drain and pour out all but 1-2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan. In the drippings sauté the onion until its starts to get tender and a little clear. Add the finely chopped garlic and the diced stems of the chard, continue to sauté until the chard stems are tender. Reduce the heat on the pan to hold the veggies while your pasta cooks.
As soon as the pasta water has started to boil drop your pasta into the water. Any shape of long pasta you like will work well in this dish. When the pasta is almost cooked turn the heat on your sauce back to medium, and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Then put the bacon back into the pan and melt the butter into the pan. As soon as the butter is melted add the cream, Pecorino Romano, and spices. As the cheese melts into the sauce add pasta water to get the right conscience for your sauce, about ¼ cup of the pasta water. One minute before you are going to drain the pasta put chopped leaves of the Swiss chard into the pasta pot to cook.
When you pasta is cooked al dente drain the pasta and chard. Then mix the pasta with the sauce over low heat in one of your pans. Combining the pasta and sauce over heat will help the dish come together better and help the smoky creamy bacon flavor of the sauce penetrate the pasta.