Gruyere is one of my favorite cheeses. The rich nuttiness makes it a tasty snack on its own, and it also melts nicely to impart a lot of flavor when cooking. So when I was asked if I wanted to sample some Emmi Kaltbach™ Cave-aged Le Gruyère® cheese, I quickly agreed. Though I was tempted to just crack it open when it arrived and start nibbling, I waited a week or so to plot what I wanted to make with it.
When the weekend’s weather didn’t look good for grilling, it seemed like a good time for a pasta dish featuring the Gruyere cheese. Collard greens were on sale, so I grabbed them to combine with the cheese and bacon, and I was well on my way to this tasty Pasta with Greens, Gruyere and Bacon recipe! You can easily substitute other greens here. This method for fixing the greens along with the bacon is also my go-to way of fixing them as a side dish.
New Recipe Notes
Since initially posting this pasta with greens, Gruyere and bacon recipe in 2013, I’ve made variations of pasta with greens many times. When I came back to remake this recipe recently, I followed the basic instructions as I initially wrote them up, and was pleased with the results. The only change I made was using thyme instead of the oregano, based on what I had available. I also grabbed a different brand of Gruyere cheese, based on what they had on sale at Whole Foods. The results were again very tasty!
If you’d like more ideas for cooking with greens, be sure to check out my Collards & Kale Cookbook!
Wine Pairing for Pasta with Greens, Gruyere and Bacon
We served a Greek white wine with the Pasta with Greens, Gruyere and Bacon the first time we made the dish. When we remade this pasta and greens recipe again recently, I thought it would be a good night to open the 2014 Clos Pegase Chardonnay ($30, 14.1% ABV) we had been sent to sample. This Chardonnay is from the Clos Pegase Mitsuko’s Vineyard in the Carneros appellation in Napa County. I got cherry blossoms on the nose. Creamy taste of butter and vanilla, with a touch of lemon. Very enjoyable to drink on its own, it made a good partner for this flavorful pasta dish. The Clos Pegase Chardonnay is a full-bodied white wine, which helped it stand up to the rich cheese in the pasta. More on the wine can be found on the Clos Pegase website.
- 1 or 2 slices bacon
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch collard greens, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup chicken broth
- pinch salt & red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh oregano or thyme
- ½ cup Gruyère cheese, shredded (plus extra to serve at table)
- 12 ozs elbow macaroni or other short pasta
- Heat a large skillet on medium high and spray with cooking oil. Add the bacon and cook until it is nice and crispy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the bacon from the pan and cool it on paper towel set on a plate to absorb the excess grease. Pour most of the extra grease out of the pan, but leave a bit for that bacon flavor.
- When the bacon has cooled, crumble it into bite sized pieces and set it aside to add to the dish later.
- Add a tablespoon of the olive oil to the skillet, heat on medium. Add the garlic, cook for a minute or so until it starts getting fragrant.
- Gradually add the greens in a few batches, stirring the greens as you add them so they get well coated with the oil and garlic. Add a light pinch of salt, then stir in the chicken broth and balsamic vinegar.
- Bring the skillet to a simmer, then cover to cook gently on moderate heat. Braise the greens, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the oregano and red pepper flakes about halfway through the greens cooking time.
- Start boiling the water for pasta after you’ve added the greens. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta when it is cooked to your liking.
- Toss the pasta with the green mixture. Be sure to use up all the good liquid from cooking the greens to capture all the nutrients and flavor.
- After mixing the greens and pasta, stir in the cheese followed by the bacon. Serve at the table with a bit of extra grated Gruyère, and enjoy!
Full Disclosure: The Gruyère cheese initially used for the recipe was provided to me as a free sample, as was the Clos Pegase Chardonnay. As always, the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.