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Spaghetti with Bacon and Cabbage
"This dish is a riff on a classic Italian preparation made with buckwheat pasta," Rach says. "Use fettuccine, tagliatelle or linguine, whole wheat or farro. For a vegetarian preparation, remove the pork from the recipe and simply begin with the potatoes in the method."
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- ¼ to ⅓ pound meaty bacon or pancetta, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter, sliced into pats
- 1 pound baby white-skin potatoes, thinly sliced or quartered
- Salt and pepper
- 2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
- A few sprigs of sage, 15 to 18 leaves picked and stacked, very thinly sliced
- 1 small cabbage or ½ medium white cabbage, cut into 2-inch wedges and thinly sliced
- Grated nutmeg, to taste
- White pepper, to taste (optional)
- ½ cup white wine, or ½ lemon
- 1 pound whole wheat pasta, farro or semolina tagliatelle or fettuccine
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 cup Gorgonzola picante or blue cheese or smoked blue cheese of choice, crumbled
- ½ cup chopped hazelnuts or walnuts (optional)
Heat a large pot of water for pasta to a boil.
Heat a deep skillet or round bottom Dutch oven over medium heat with EVOO, 2 turns of pan, add bacon or pancetta and render 2 to 3 minutes to lightly crisp, then remove to paper towel-lined plate. Drain excess fat if you like, but reserve a collective 2 tablespoons of drippings and EVOO in pan, melt butter into that and add potatoes, salt and pepper, and lightly brown in a single layer, covered, for 2 minutes, flip or turn and cook a minute or 2 more. Add shallots or onions, garlic, and sage, then stir a minute more, add cabbage, nutmeg and white pepper, and cook, covered, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid, add wine or lemon and reduce heat to low.
Add salt to pasta water and cook pasta or farro 1 to 2 minutes less than package directions, reserve ½ cup water, drain and toss with Parm cheese, potatoes, cabbage and reserved bacon or pancetta. Serve in shallow bowls topped with blue cheese or gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles and nuts, if using.