Brown Rice Pasta with Crispy Pancetta and Kale

Pasta is a great last-minute dinner option. It takes about twenty minutes to bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta which is all the time you need to crisp up some pancetta and sauté the garlic and kale. I’m using brown rice pasta for this recipe, but you can use any type you like. For tips and tricks for cooking gluten-free pasta click here!

Brown Rice Pasta with Crispy Pancetta and Kale


  • 1/2 lb brown rice pasta
  • 1 bunch lactinato kale stems removed, rough chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 oz pancetta diced
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small piece ricotta salata
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste


  1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. While you’re waiting for the water to boil heat a large saute pan on medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan as well as the pancetta. Slowly render the fat on the pancetta, stirring it occasionally until it begins to get crispy. At this point, your water should be boiling, go ahead and cook the pasta. 

  2. While the pasta is cooking add the sliced garlic to the saute pan with the pancetta. Stir gently, when the garlic is aromatic, and golden brown add in the kale. Let the kale wilt in the pan. You can turn the heat to low or off until you’re ready to add the pasta. When the pasta is al dente add it to the saute pan along with a 1/2 a cup of the pasta water. 

  3. Let the pasta cook with the water, kale, and pancetta. When the liquid has reduced and just lightly coats the pasta turn off the heat. Taste the pasta; it may not need additional salt because the water and pancetta are pretty salty — season as needed. Just before serving, squeeze half a lemon over the pasta, and some grated zest, divide between two bowls. Lastly, using a peeler for nice long strips, shave some ricotta salata over each bowl. Serve and eat right away! 

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