Weeknight Carbonara With Extra Greens

There’s a lot to love about pasta carbonara: it’s silky, rich and always tastes amazing. So, to wrap up our month of easy dinners, we’re sharing a quick twist on the classic recipe, in which greens stand in for bacon. (Don’t worry, it still feels decadent!) Alexandra of Alexandra’s Kitchen shows us how it’s done…

Weeknight Carbonara With Extra Greens
By Alexandra Stafford of Alexandra’s Kitchen

This is one my family’s favorite weeknight dinners. The dish comes together in about 20 minutes. I love the addition of bacon found in classic carbonara recipes, but it’s not missed in this version. And though the heap of greens wilts down to seemingly nothing, I know it’s there, doing all the good things a heap of greens ought to be doing.

Recipe: Weeknight Carbonara With Extra Greens
Serves 4

You’ll need:

Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 lbs greens
3/4 pound pappardelle egg noodles, bucatini or linguini
2 large eggs
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Set a large pot of salted water (I use 1 tablespoon kosher salt) to boil. In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the onion, and immediately turn the heat down to medium. Season with a pinch of kosher salt, and sauté stirring occasionally, until soft and just turning to color, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the onions and stir for 30 seconds. Add all of the greens. (Note: If you are using 2 pounds of greens, you may have to add them incrementally to the pan.) Cook over medium to medium-high heat until greens shrink way down. Use tongs to flip the greens around and help them wilt. Season with a pinch of salt. Turn off the heat.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup (or more) of the pasta cooking liquid. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, parmesan and lemon juice. Whisk 3/4 cup pasta water into egg mixture.

Drain pasta and immediately add to the pan with the onions and greens. Pour egg mixture into pan and toss with tongs to combine, turning heat to low or medium if greens have cooled way down. Season with salt and pepper. Add more lemon or more of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to taste. Sprinkle pasta with more cheese if desired and serve immediately.

Weeknight Carbonara With Extra Greens

Thank you so much, Alexandra!

P.S. More easy recipes, including a kale, caramelized onions and goat cheese pasta and skillet chicken parm.

(Photos by Alexandra Stafford. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for helping with this series.)