Alliteration Pasta (or, Pasta with Pancetta, Parsnips, Parsley, and Parmesan….and Mushrooms.)
I hope you all had a fabulous Easter! I had a great time visiting family, spending time with my adorable nephew, and relaxing with my husband and daughter. Today I’m trying to catch up on reading all of your great blogs and writing in my own!
I found this recipe quite awhile ago on Food Hunter’s Guide blog and printed it, placing it in my “to make” pile of recipes. Sometimes these recipes never make it into my kitchen, but this one has been on my mind and I knew I was going to have to make it. And I’ll most likely be making it again. I made some changes to the recipe (as always). Added mushrooms, eliminated some fat, eliminated all the butter. Paula Deen would be ashamed! I left it in the written recipe in case you would like to indulge. Honestly though, I think it might be a little on the greasy side with all that fat. If you double the amount of pancetta like I did, I would still definitely recommend draining a bit of the rendered fat off before adding the butter.
1 pound pasta of your choice (I used fusilli)
1/2 pound of pancetta cut into 1/2 inch cubes (original recipe called for 1/4lb, but that would not have been enough for my hubby)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter (I omitted)
1/2 pound parsnips, peeled, halved, and cut into 1/4 inch half moons
4 oz white mushrooms, washed and thinly sliced (not in original recipe)
pepper to taste
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/4 cup (I used curly–flat is better if you have it, but curly works)
Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
1) In a 12 to 14-inch saute pan, cook the pancetta over high heat until it is browned and the fat has been rendered, about 10 minutes (At this point I drained all but probably a tablespoon of the fat out). Add the parsnips and mushrooms and saute over high heat without shaking the pan too much until they are golden brown and slightly crispy, 5 to 6 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper, add the parsley, and cook 1 minute longer.
2) Cook the pasta in boiling water until tender yet al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water, and add the pasta to the pan with the pancetta and the parsnips. Toss over high heat to coat the pasta, adding pasta cooking water if necessary to keep the sauce form getting too tight (I probably added about 1/4 cup of pasta water). Divide equally among 4 heated pasta bowls, grate Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top of each bowl, and serve immediately.
Verdict: Yum! This was so good. The tangy sweetness of the parsnips was such a good pairing with the crisp saltiness of the pancetta. The mushrooms were a great addition. Although, to be transparent, I think that mushrooms are a great addition to just about anything.
Husband’s take: I was a little nervous making this for him. I thought for sure I would hear “Where’s the meat?” To my happy surprise, he loved this! He went back for seconds, so I know he really did love it. He also was a huge fan of the mushroom addition.
Changes I would make: Next time I’m going to save a tiny bit of the parsley and sprinkle it on top to add a bit of freshness. I also might add spinach, because that’s what I do. Evidence.