Spaghetti with red witlof, bacon and garlic crumbs

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Serves 4

  • 400 g (14 oz) spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for cooking
  • 2 thick rashers smoked bacon, cut into matchsticks
  • 250 g (9 oz) red witlof (chicory), thinly sliced with a few of the end parts of the red leaves torn
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 small handful flat-leaf parsley leaves

For the garlic crumbs

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 30 g (1 oz) good-quality fresh breadcrumbs, ideally made from sourdough or Olive oil bread 
  • pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  1. Get the water for your pasta on the go – don’t add too much salt as salty bacon is in play here.
  2. While it’s coming to the boil, make the garlic crumbs. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the breadcrumbs and a pinch of sea salt, and stir-fry over high heat until the breadcrumbs just start to smell toasty, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring to stop it burning, for a couple of minutes more.
  4. Pull the frying pan off the heat and stir in the grated lemon zest, then spread the breadcrumbs out on a plate so they stay crisp.
  5. Wipe out the pan.
  6. Add the pasta to the boiling water, then heat the olive oil in the frying pan. Add the bacon and fry over medium heat until starting to turn golden.
  7. Add the sliced witlof and fry for a few minutes more, stirring often, until it is just softened.
  8. Pour in the wine.
  9. While it’s bubbling up, scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any delicious caramelised bits.
  10. Pull the pan off the heat.
  11. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, keeping a little of the cooking liquid.
  12. Tip the pasta into the frying pan, return to low heat and add a splash of the olive oil and a splash of the cooking liquid.
  13. Gently toss to combine and warm the pasta through, adding more oil or liquid if the pasta is dry.
  14. Add the lemon zest, parsley, torn witlof and half the garlic crumbs to the frying pan, then gently toss.
  15. Serve immediately, with the remaining garlic crumbs sprinkled over the top.