Fettucini with Pancetta and Parsnips

Serves 4 – 6:

Who doesn’t love pasta and cheese? The combination reminds me of some of my favorite childhood dishes. While I crave comfort foods that ooze of nostalgia, I often look for ways to add a grown up twist. This cheesy pasta dish, inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe I saw several years ago, combines anisey parsnips with woody rosemary and smoky bacon. And if you’ve never had parsnips then you’re in for a real treat! It’s comfort with a touch of sophistication for those nights when you long for a simple and filling option.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of whole wheat fettucine
  • 6 oz of pancetta or bacon
  • 2 parsnips
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 – 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • 1 tbsp of EVOO (optional)

Prep It:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.
  • Rinse the rosemary, dry thoroughly and strip the leaves from the stem.
  • Peel the parsnips and then using a vegetable peeler, create long strips of parsnip.
  • Crush the garlic and give it a rough chop.
  • Cut the bacon or pancetta into one inch pieces.

Cook It:

  • Drop the fettucine into the pot of boiling water. Stir the pasta to keep it from sticking. Cook according to the instructions on the package. Drain the pasta when cooked al dente reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  • Meanwhile, sauté the pancetta or bacon in the skillet until crisp. Remove the pancetta/bacon and drain on a paper towel.
  • Sauté the garlic for 2 – 3 minutes in the bacon fat, stirring constantly to keep it from burning. If needed, add 1 tbsp of EVOO to the pan before adding the garlic. After 2 – 3 minutes, add the parsnips and rosemary and sauté another 2 -3 minutes.
  • Add the pasta to the sauté pan with the parsnips and pancetta/bacon. Add ½ cup of the pasta water and ½ the cheese. Stir to melt the cheese, combine the ingredients while the pasta absorbs the water. When the water is nearly absorbed, add the remaining water and cheese. Cook until the cheese is thoroughly melted and creates a thick sauce with the remaining water.

Serve It:

  • Top with extra Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
  • Punch it up! Sprinkle 1 tsp of red chili flakes in with the parsnips and rosemary for a little added heat.
  • If you can’t find parsnips use carrots instead and add 1 tsp of minced fresh garlic.
  • Add ½ cup of frozen peas in with the pasta for an extra touch.
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