Aired July 1, 2009
2 tablespoons EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 slice of pancetta (about a half-inch thick), cut into small pieces
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large or 2 small heads of escarole, roughly chopped
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 to 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook to al dente according to the package directions. Just before draining, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta-cooking water. Drain pasta and reserve.
While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Once the pan is hot, add the pancetta and cook until crispy and it has rendered most of its fat, stirring occasionally. Drain pancetta on a paper towel-lined plate and reserve.
To the skillet with the pancetta drippings, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic turns golden in color. When the garlic turns golden, add the escarole to the skillet, and give it a good toss until wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Add the cannellini beans and the reserved pasta-cooking water into the skillet and season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Toss the cooked pasta in the skillet with the escarole and beans along with the lemon zest and cheese. Plate the pasta and garnish with toasted pine nuts and reserved pancetta.