Bacon, Peas and Braised Lettuce

As Julia Child said in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, “Plain boiled lettuce is dreadfully uninteresting, but lettuce braised slowly … is a marvelous dish.” So listen to Julia and give it a try in this simple spring pasta dish.

Casey Barber

Bacon, Peas and Braised Lettuce

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    1 lb rotini or other pasta 4 cups lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
    Kosher salt 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
    1/4 lb pancetta or thick-cut bacon, diced Freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup frozen peas Finely shredded Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
    2 Tbs unsalted butter


    Prep: 15 min Total:
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    • 1

      Fill a 6-quart stockpot with water and add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente.

    • 2

      While the pasta water comes to a boil, add the bacon in a large skillet or straight-sided saute pan and cook over medium-low heat until the pieces are golden, crisp, and rendering their fat, leaving a brown film on the bottom of the pan.

    • 3

      Remove the bacon from the pan, reserving in a small bowl, and add the peas. Stir to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with the liquid from the peas as they cook.

    • 4

      Add the butter and when it’s fully melted, add the lettuce and stir to wilt.

    • 5

      When the lettuce starts to soften, add the broth and cover the pan. Cook for 6 minutes, until the lettuce is very soft and tender.

    • 6

      Drain the pasta and return to its pan. Add the peas, lettuce, and sauce from the skillet, and stir in the reserved bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    • 7

      Serve with shredded Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.

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