whole wheat rigatoni with kale, mushrooms, and white wine pancetta cream

I don't have any reason for not buying or using eggs other than that I don't like them. I don't like looking at them. But there is always a carbonara problem when you don't use eggs in cooking, so I have stopped calling my carbonara-like sauces 'carbonara.'

This is pancetta cream sauce, but it's not very creamy. Because of that this is a highly defensible dish even for the 'responsible eating' phase everyone seems to have entered now that it's conceivable they will have to bare their legs in front of people: kale makes it 'healthy, whole wheat pasta makes it justifiably 'nutritious.' Pancetta is protein, probably. Romano cheese, not a blend, is the primary salt. Lemon makes it spring?

whole wheat rigatoni with kale, mushrooms, and white wine pancetta cream | slothful slattern


Effortful time: 8 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes 
Serves: 2


  • 1/3 lb. whole wheat rigatoni
  • 12 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 cups (standard) kale, chopped
  • 2 oz. pancetta, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • A little pasta water
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt + pepper
  • Small amount of (garlic) olive oil
  • Grated romano cheese
  • Lemon juice


  1. Cook the rigatoni to al dente. Save a cupful of the water and drain.
  2. Toss in the pancetta with a tiny bit of the oil and cover partially to keep the splatterstorm at bay. Fry it until crispy.
  3. Add the mushrooms. Cook until brown. Throw in the garlic too.
  4. Deglaze with white wine and add the kale. Cook covered on low, steaming it, until the kale is mostly withered (about 10 minutes).
  5. Add red pepper flakes, pepper, and cream. Simmer this over low for 2 more minutes. Add some romano and stir in.
  6. Wonder: does sheep cheese taste somehow sheepier than other cheese? When I sniff romano, I have to try hard not to smell what I know is the lanolin. But I use lanolin lip balm and don't have this problem then. Confusion sets in.
  7. Squeeze many lemons over it and add more romano. 
  8. Accidentally eat lemon seed. Careless.