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.
|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|
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.
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.
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.
Add the butter and when it’s fully melted, add the lettuce and stir to wilt.
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.
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.
Serve with shredded Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.
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