Luca’s Pancetta Pasta
This quick and easy pasta dish is a favorite of Executive Director Lynn Barendsen’s son Luca, who ranks it as one of the family dinners that makes him smile after a long day at school. Lynn recommends keeping the pancetta in the freezer, which makes it easier to dice neatly, and says it’s important to serve this rich dish with a big side salad!
- 1 lb. spaghetti, linguine or other long pasta
- 4 thick slices pancetta, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
- Cook pasta in boiling salted water. Stop cooking 1-2 minutes before the pasta reaches al dente — it will finish cooking with the rest of the ingredients.
- Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the starchy water from cooking.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and saute until golden brown and crisp.
- Remove pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve.
- Add garlic to the pan and saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant but not browned.
- Return the pancetta to the pan and add the pasta and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Toss to coat.
- Add the reserved pasta water and lemon juice and mix well. Cook for an additional minute or two to finish cooking the pasta through.
- Add the chopped parsley and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes as desired. Mix well and serve with grated Parmesan at the table.