Pancetta and Sage with Linguini Pasta
My friend, Fiona, came over for dinner last night before we headed off to a party celebrating Michelle Yu and Blossom Kan’s publishing deal for their first novel China Dolls (Michelle explains that the book is Sex and the City meets The Joy Luck Club). This was my first time to cook for Fiona, who recently moved to New York from London, so I wanted to make sure I made something that was really good but also easy so that I could still entertain her as I prepared the meal.
I found in my refrigerator the remaining pancetta leftover from making my Pancetta, Bean and Spinach Soup. I also had some sage leftover from another dish I had made earlier in the week. Since I love the pancetta so much, I wanted to use it in a dish that would allow it shine. So the first thing that came to mind was a pasta dish. Perfectly easy!
So here is how I made it (for two servings):
- 2 servings of linguini pasta (See Note 1)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 ½ tbsp butter
- 1/3 lb pancetta, chopped
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 8 fresh sage leaves, sliced
- Fresh parmesan cheese to top (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)
- In a pot over high heat, fill with water third thirds full. Bring to a boil. Add pasta and salt. Let cook until the pasta is al dente. (Reserve some pasta water for step 3!)
- As pasta is cooking, in a small omelet pan over medium low heat add butter. Once melted, add pancetta, shallot, and sage. Cook until pancetta is nice and juicy.
- From the pasta pot, take about 1/3 cup of the pasta water and mix it into the sauce. Turn heat up to medium. Let it cook down until the sauce has a good, slightly thick consistency (like a gravy consistency). See picture.
- When pasta is finished cooking, drain it and add to serving bowls. Do not rinse the pasta—you want the starch on the pasta surface because this helps the sauce stick to it. Add sauce on top of pasta. (I prefer adding the sauce to the top of the individual servings because if I mixed it with the pasta first, all the pancetta would just fall to the bottom.)
- Top with crumbled parmesan cheese.
- As you can see from the picture, I used whole wheat linguini pasta. I chose it because I am trying to be healthier, but it also has a great flavor that I thought would compliment the strong pancetta paste. Although traditional pasta will also work well, I do think the pancetta and whole wheat pasta make for a good combination of flavors.