Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 15 min Serves: 2
Spring has begun it’s slow but inevitable conquest of winter. While that victory may come a little slower in New England, I can’t help but get excited about some of my favorite spring ingredients. This pasta has a light sauce to feature the freshness of the components, but is also hearty enough to get you through those cold early spring nights.
The pancetta should be rendered slowly under low heat to get all the fat out and achieve a nice, crisp texture. Reserving the rendered fat provides a flavorful base to build your sauce from. Make sure to also reserve some of the pasta water to add additional flavor, and a bit of texture to the sauce as well.
The pasta should be cooked al dente, and finished in the pan with the rest of your ingredients in the sauce. Finishing the pasta in the sauce not only allows flavor to soak in, but it also releases some of the the starch from the pasta as well. This makes the pasta “stand-up” on the plate and makes the dish more cohesive, not just lose ingredients tossed together.
- 4 oz dried pappardelle
- 1 cup pancetta; chopped
- 1 cup English sweet peas; picked and rinsed
- 1/2 shallot; finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic; finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese; shaved
- 1/4 cup fresh sage; chopped + 6 whole leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp butter
Place a pan with olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and lower to medium-low heat, allowing the pancetta to render slowly. Once all the fat has rendered and the pancetta has crisped, remove from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reserve the rendered fat.
Add the shallots and garlic to the pan with the pancetta fat and cook over medium heat, stirring often. When the garlic has started to brown and the shallots turn translucent, turn off the heat to avoid a flame-up and add your wine. Turn the heat back up to medium and reduce the wine until there is about 2 tbsp left in the pan. Take the sauce off the heat and set aside.
Add vegetable oil to a pan and set over medium heat. Test the temperature of the oil with one of the whole sage leaves. The oil should be hot enough to fry the leaf without totally burning it. Too cold and the oil will soak into the leaf and make it soggy. When the oil has come up to temperature add the rest of your leaves and fry quickly, removing from the oil with a slotted spoon and placing on paper towels to drain.
Meanwhile fill a large pot with water and salt heavily. Your pasta water should be almost as salty as sea water. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil before adding the pappardelle. Cook the pasta until al dente before removing from the pot and adding to your shallots, garlic and wine. Reserve some of the pasta water and add to the sauce pan as well, enough to just cover the pasta. Return the sauce pan to medium heat, adding peas, and fresh sage. Cook pasta in sauce, adding more reserved water if necessary, until the sauce thickens and coats pasta evenly. Add in your reserved pancetta and butter, tossing to mix. Plate your pasta, crumbling fried sage over the top and garnishing with shaved Pecorino Romano.