Linguine Carbonara with Rainbow Chard

by Kelli on August 30, 2013

This ideal weeknight meal combines linguine, crispy pancetta and sauteed rainbow chard with velvety carbonara sauce.

Linguine Carbonara with Rainbow Chard

Happy long weekend Friday!

I looove Fridays, and even more than that I love long weekend Fridays.  And I’m especially loving this long weekend because I’m spending it in one of my most favorite place, San Francisco!  L & I got out here super late Wednesday night.  When I heading to the west coast for just a few days I always like to find a flight that gets me in late at night.  I’m usually super tired by the time I get in, but I find it helps me adjust to the time change easily.  Anyway, we spent yesterday staying pretty low key and hitting up some of our favorite San Francisco spots – Mama’s (best.breakfast.ever!!!!!), Bi-Rite Creamery and Tartine Bakery.

Linguine Carbonara with Rainbow Chard

This morning we’re up bright and early to head out to Marin County to hike the Double Dipsea (where all of those indulgent calories from yesterday will be burned off in about five minutes).  I’ve been looking forward to this hike since we planned our trip!  L hiked the Double Dipsea last summer, and I’m super excited to tackle it this year.  The Dipsea Trail is a 7-ish mile trail running from Mill Valley, passing through the Muir Woods, to Stinson Beach.  So, we’ll start at Mill Valley hike out to Stinson Beach, take a rest, have some lunch, then hike back to Mill Valley.  With the half ironman just over a week away, a long hike might be pushing it a just a little, but it’s just so hard to resist the West Coast trails.

So, what does Linguine Carbonara with Rainbow Chard have to do with San Francisco….well, absolutely nothing, except that I love them both tremendously (hello, awkward segue).

Linguine Carbonara with Rainbow Chard

Carbonara is one of those meals that I savor and adore every time I make it.  It’s creamy and luxurious, and all around comforting, without being too heavy.  It’s also hard not to love how quickly this meal comes together (hello, fantastic weeknight dinner!).

What really pulls this dish together is the crispy pancetta and the sauce.  Oh, the sauce.  Actually, I feel a little funny calling it a “sauce”, because it’s not a saucey-sauce, kind of sauce.  It’s more like more like a velvety coating of grated Parmesan cheese, egg yolk, a touch of starchy pasta water and fresh ground black pepper.

We eat pasta about about once a week, and when we do I always load it up with an equal amount of fresh veggies.  Chard is a dark leafy green in the same family as spinach and beets.  The variety of chard I use in this recipe, Rainbow Chard, is aptly named for it’s beautiful and vibrant colored stalks.  It has a slightly similar taste to spinach, while proving much milder than another favorite dark leafy green, kale.  Chard is also a great source of vitamins C & E, potassium and iron.

Linguine Carbonara with Rainbow Chard

Linguine Carbonara with Rainbow Chard

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 2-4


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large bunch rainbow chard (about 4-5 cups)
  • 1/2 pound linguine
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 4 eggs yolks
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper


Thoroughly wash (I often rinse mine 2-3 times to make sure all the sand and grit gets out) and dry chard. Trim the ends, and slice the leaves into thin strips.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the rainbow chard, toss to coat with the oil, season with a 1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper, and saute until wilted, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside.

Boil water and cook the linguine until al dente. Drain the linguine, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

While the pasta cooks, whisk together egg yolks, cheese, salt & pepper, making sure there are no lumps. Set aside.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, cook the pancetta until crisp, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shallot & garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Add the reserved pasta water to the pan, and stir so the mixture is well blended. Cook about minute. Add linguine and rainbow chard to the pan, and toss to fully coat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the egg mixture to the pan, stirring quickly to combine, so that the eggs thicken but don’t scramble. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Tieghan August 30, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Ah wow! This looks awesome and I love the extra greens. It make for on pretty pasta!


Kelli August 30, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Thanks my friend…have a great weekend!


Julia August 30, 2013 at 11:04 AM

That chard looks so fresh and delicious! What a wonderful way of putting together a filling meal packed with nutrition! We should all spread the word that eating greens can be fun and delicious! Have a great weekend!


Kelli September 4, 2013 at 11:24 AM

One more reason why we’re friends….eating greens IS fun and delicious :) I love where your head is at!


Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking August 30, 2013 at 4:27 PM

This is such a gorgeous, simple and summery dish, Kelli! I love it!


Kelli September 4, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Thanks so much, Georgia!


Joanne August 31, 2013 at 10:59 AM

How did I not know you’re training for a half ironman!! We should totally run together when it’s over! I’m training for the NYC marathon (my fourth marathon) and it would be so much fun!

I love all that chard. Makes my heart happy.


Kelli September 4, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Yesssss! It would be so fun to run together…especially since we’re pretty much in the same hood! I’ll take next week off to recover, then I’ll be back to hitting the pavement.


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