Everything tastes better with bacon and so does spinach.
The Italians often use rendered pieces of pancetta or prosciutto to flavor their vegetables, especially the winter vegetables like chicory, kale, Savoy cabbage, cauliflower and the like. Pancetta is bacon cured with salt, pepper and other spices, but not smoked.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
6 ounces pancetta, cut in 1/4-inch cubes
2 (10-ounce) bags spinach, washed and trimmed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add garlic. Let the garlic sizzle for a minute or two, then add the pancetta. Saute pancetta until fat is rendered and pancetta is crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the spinach, 1/2 cup water and the salt. Cover and cook until spinach is tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to high to cook away excess liquid, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.
Lidia Bastianich is a best-selling cookbook author, restaurateur, owner of a flourishing food and entertainment business and host of public television's cooking series, Lidia's Italy.