Penne with Chard, Bacon, and Feta
- 1 pound Penne Pasta , use gluten-free if desired
- 6 ounces Bacon , cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, optional (use 1 tablespoon olive oil in place)
- 2 Garlic , minced
- 1 bunch Swiss Chard , center stems removed, and reserved
- 1 cup Dry White Wine
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flake , optional
- 6 ounces Feta Cheese , crumbled
- Salt and Pepper , to taste
- Slice chard stems from leaves, but leave in one long piece. Stack chard leaves and slice into 1/2 inch wide ribbons. Reserve.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook penne 1 minute less than package instructions. During the last minute of cooking pasta, add the chard stems. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking liquid, and drain pasta and stems. Chop chard stems to 1/2 inch dice and add them to reserved chard leaves.
- Meanwhile, in large skillet, render fat from bacon strips over medium heat. When bacon is crisply cooked, remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain bacon on towels. Discard all but 1-2 tablespoons of the rendered fat. In same skillet stir the garlic in the hot bacon fat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chard and wilt. Deglaze pan with white wine, turn heat up to high, and boil the wine for about 1-2 minutes, scraping up any brown bits in the pan. When the smell of alcohol has cooked off, add the penne into the kale mixture and sauté for about 1 minute. Add pasta water a little at a time if pasta seems dry. When pasta is fully cooked, stir in optional red pepper flakes, feta cheese and drained bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
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