I think it’s about time I posted a savoury recipe around here. This mediterranean pancetta pasta is pretty healthy and you can even make it more so by eliminating the pancetta but why would you want to do that??? Pancetta equals protein and protein is important so it’s a no brainer. We all know that pancetta is fancy bacon so that means it just makes everything better. The feta cheese gives it a great creaminess and saltiness that is just right that makes this mediterranean pancetta pasta just perfect and a total must. The rest of the recipe is highly adaptable so you can definitely use this as a clean out your veggie drawer type of recipe because it’ll all taste good. Just make sure that harder vegetables should be pre-cooked like the green beans were in this case.
For some reason this dish also makes me think of Spring and the better weather that I keep thinking is supposed to be just around the corner. Honestly the weather isn’t that bad in Madrid right now but I was hoping that we’d be having warmer weather by now. It rained quite a bit last week which is totally unusual for Madrid. Hopefully this is the last of the crappy weather and I can bring out my sandals sooner rather than later. I would be happy living in a place that had summer all year round and I have to admit I’m a little closer with Madrid in comparison to where i grew up but I’m tired of the winter and I just want those long summer days back where we eat on the patio for every meal and the time seems to move just a little slower. Winter it was nice seeing you but you can leave now and not come back for a long long while.
- 1/3 cup / 90 gr. / 3 oz pancetta, cut into lardons
- 1 Tbsp / 15 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup / 120 gr. / 1 small Spanish onion, sliced
- 2/3 cup / 150 gr. / 3/4 of a whole yellow pepper, julienned
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 cups / 50 gr. kale, chopped into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup / 100 gr. green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces, pre-cooked, steamed*
- 1/8 tsp / .63 ml dried oregano
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 cups / 255 gr. / 9 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml pasta cooking water**
- 1/2 cup / 115 gr. / 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- Cook the whole wheat pasta following the directions on the packaging. Make sure to reserve 1/2 a cup of the cooking liquid before draining the pasta.
- Cook the pancetta lardons in a medium size skillet on medium high heat until gold brown. Turn the heat down to medium and remove the pancetta and set aside. Keep about 2 teaspoons of the pancetta grease and remove the rest.
- Add extra virgin olive oil to the pan along with the onions and sauté for about 1 minute and add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the peppers and the kale to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the green beans, oregano, black pepper and pancetta back to the mix and cook on low heat while the pasta is cooking.
- Increase the heat on the skillet to medium low and add 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid and stir making sure to scrape up the brown bits in the pan. Add the cooked pasta and stir until the pasta is coated. You can add a little more cooking liquid if you want it a little "saucier". Please note that this pasta isn't saucy and the cooking liquid just helps to add a creaminess to the base of the veggie and pancetta mix so that it sticks to the pasta.
- Sprinkle the feta cheese on each plate before serving and serve immediately.
- * I steam the green beans in the microwave by adding a 1/4 cup of water to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for about 7 minutes. I start with 5 minutes and check before adding time.
- ** Reserve about a half a cup of the cooking water once the pasta is cooked. Make sure to do this before you drain the pasta. The cooking liquid helps to make the veggie mix creamier which will helps it stick to the cooked pasta.
- *** Make sure to have a light hand on the salt because the pancetta and the feta are naturally salty. I did't add any salt to the veggie mixture and I found it to be perfect. I did add salt to the water when cooking the pasta.
- **** This pasta also tastes great at room temperature.
Anyways sorry about going off tangent but now you know my thoughts on Winter which I’m sure you were dying to know!!! I hope the weather is cooperating in your part of the world and that this mediterranean pancetta pasta makes it into your Spring meal rotation. I’d love to hear what your substitutions were on this recipe and if you enjoyed it as much as we did. Now go out and invoke the weather lords so that Winter is a thought of the past and our cute sandals can come out to play!!!