This is a hearty, healthy meal that’s great for any time of year. It’s a dish that’s layered with contrasting textures and flavors: toothsome pasta, soft lemony greens, a silky fried egg, and a showering of crunchy, toasted breadcrumbs with bacon and herbs. All of these elements coalesce into a delicious bite with every forkful.
Pasta with Egg, Chard, & Lemon Bacon Breadcrumbs
for the breadcrumbs
3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 cup panko
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tblsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 pieces of bacon, microwaved between paper towels until very crispy, then finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
for the pasta
1 lb pasta of your choice
1 bunch swiss chard (or kale) well cleaned, stems removed and trimmed, then finely chopped. Leaves thinly sliced or chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
juice of 2 lemons
4 tbslp extra virgin olive oil
salt and fresh pepper
fresh grated parmesan cheese
4 eggs, fried (optional)
1. Make the breadcrumbs: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add smashed garlic cloves and simmer until fragrant and golden brown, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the panko and toast until golden brown, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves and transfer the breadcrumbs to a bowl. Let cool slightly, then add the lemon zest, thyme, parsley, parmesan and bacon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Make the chard and and the pasta. In a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tblsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add the sliced garlic and sautee until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped chard stems to the pan and cook until almost tender, about 6 minutes. Add the chopped chard leaves to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and sautee until soft and wilted, another 6 to 8 minutes. Use tongs to turn the greens as they wilt down. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente.
3. When the chard is cooked, turn the heat off and add the lemon juice. Toss in the pasta and combine, adding a bit of pasta water or olive oil to loosen if needed. Add 1/4 cup of the breadcrumbs and combine well. Divide pasta into 4 bowls and top each of them with a few more tablespoons of the breadcrumbs, and some extra grated parmesan. Top each with a fried egg if desired.