Local (kale, bacon and grana pecorino spaghetti)



This evening’s dinner was a tribute to ‘local.’ I was glad to finally meet the cheese maker from Highland Organics at the Capital Region Farmers Market this morning. He had one of his first batches of grana pecorino with him. It has a great flavour and has only been aged for six months. I can’t wait to taste it after nine months. That’s the point actually, I couldn’t wait, and bought a wedge. I had a bunch of kale in the fridge that I picked up at Choku Bai Jo during the week, and of course, some of my home-made bacon. It was a match made in heaven, right here on earth. When I make bacon, I buy my pork from a local free-range pork producer. This time, I bought it from Box Gum Grazing, and it’s the best batch I’ve ever made. I cure it myself, and smoke it on my balcony. The result is something pretty special. I also reserved the bacon jelly that collected on the plate as the bacon cooled. It’s packed full of flavour, so I had to save it. I used a little of it this evening and will put the rest back in the freezer. It would have been great to tally up the food miles for this dish. I think it would have been pretty low, alas, I don’t recall where the kale was grown. You can be certain though, if it was at Choku Bai Jo, it won’t have come far at all.

Serves 2
2 thick cut rashers bacon
1 tablespoon bacon jelly (optional)
2 tablespoons white wine
2 cups kale, finely sliced
1 pinch black pepper, freshly ground
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon grana pecorino, finely grated
180 grams spaghetti

Cut off the rind from the bacon. Heat a frying pan to medium and add the bacon rind. Allow the fat to render and coat the pan before discarding the rind. Slice the bacon and add it to the pan, cooking gently till crisp and dark golden in colour. Add the wine and bacon jelly to the pan and reduce.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti to al dente, according to packet directions.

Add the kale to the frying pan and stir. Remove the spaghetti from the pan and add it straight to the saucepan. You want there to be a little cooking liquid still on the spaghetti. Mix to thoroughly combine the kale, bacon and spaghetti. Take the pan off the heat and stir through the beaten egg and cracked pepper. Serve topped with grated grana pecorino.

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