Recipes   /   Cavatappi “Monte Giovi” – Pasta with Guanciale and Kale

Cavatappi “Monte Giovi” – Pasta with Guanciale and Kale

Feb 23, 2016 by Gabriele Corcos

DIFFICULTY

Easiness of use, quick results and total deliciousness are the fundamentals of Tuscan country cooking. It is true for farmers that spend their days working the fields and need simple and nourishing meals, but it obviously applies also to more “modern families” that are always on the go and have not much time to spend in the kitchen.

Guanciale, the cured pork cheek, is in absolute one of my favorite ingredients. It never fails to deliver unforgettable flavors, it is extremely easy to use and overall is a true life saver in the kitchen when prep time is limited. In this recipe, which I somewhat consider and evolution of the Pasta alla Gricia, the saltiness of the cured meat is well balanced by the kale and the pine nuts, the sprinkle of Pecorino cheese completes the dish with a wonderful and earthy saltiness.

As you can notice, there is no mention in the ingredient list for additional salt and pepper seasoning. Traditional Guanciale is extremely flavored and in general no additional spices are necessary to achieve incredible results and very deep flavors. Try this one out, and start keeping a piece of guanciale in your refrigerator, it will change the way you cook and allow you to experiment many combinations of flavors for your pastas and soups.

Prep Time: 20 min / Cook Time: 20 min / Serves: 4 – 6

  • 1 lb Cavatappi pasta (or other short cut)
  • 3 oz Guanciale (or pancetta), sliced thin
  • 1 bunch Tuscan Kale
  • 5 Garlic Loves, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup Pecorino Cheese, freshly grated
  • 3 tbsp Pine Nuts

1Remove the stems from the kale, chop it fine and rinse under cold water and set aside.

2Heat up a non-stick pan over medium-high flame, roast briefly the pine nuts until they turn medium brown in color. Remove them from the pan and place them on a plate to cool off.

3In a large skillet heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the Guanciale until slightly crisp, then add the garlic and stir well. Remove from the fire and set aside, the heat from the oil will keep cooking the garlic for a couple of extra minutes… if you think your guanciale might burn a bit, remove from the pan and place in a ceramic bowl to cool off.

4Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente.

5Drain the pasta and combine with the sautéed guanciale, adding a little extra virgin olive oil if necessary. As you toss the pasta around, add the kale and half of the grated cheese, mix well and plate.

6Garnish with the remaining Pecorino and a sprinkle of roasted pine nuts, finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

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