Spaghetti with Endive or Escarole and Bacon


Prep time: 
30 minutes
Cooking time: 
30 minutes


Crisp bacon complements the greens so well that you may be tempted to sauté them in the bacon fat, but don't do it; the bacon will then overwhelm the greens completely. Use olive oil instead, which will bring all the flavors together.


  • 110 g sliced bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 head endive lettuce or escarole (about 680 g), leaves cut into about 1 cm strips
  • 160 ml canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 340 g spaghetti
  • 40 g grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon butter


Step 1 In a large deep frying pan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon. Pour off all the fat from the pan.

Step 2 In the same pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic, red-pepper flakes, and anchovy paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the endive or escarole, a little at a time, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.

Step 3 Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta; add it to the pan with the endive/escarole. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the Parmesan, bacon, and butter.


The original recipe calls for escarole, but endive/frisee will work as well.  For a variation, stir in a cup of drained, canned cannellini beans when you add the broth in Step 2. Add two tablespoons of chopped fresh basil just before serving.

Photo Credit: Jonny Hughes @jonny2love
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