A few days ago I clumsily left my groceries at my friends place. After successfully getting them back, I was really happy that the pancetta that I had bought from the deli was still fresh. Pancetta is basically Italian bacon, but not to be confused with proscuitto, which is more of a “cured meat”.
The recommended cooking for pancetta was to incorporate it into pasta sauces or something to sprinkle like crumbs – it is unusual to pan fry slice by slice.
Usually what I decide to cook is forced by what I have in the fridge at the time. I was lucky to find that I had some ingredients to revisit a food memory down the lanes of Venice.
In the summer my sister and mom and I took a trip through Western Europe and trekked through 9 cities in 21 days. Perhaps we didn’t do enough research so the food wasn’t particularly striking – but this dish was.
I’m not too sure what the dish is called but it consisted of basic ingredients that you can find through any average pantry – olive oil, salt, garlic, and chili flakes.
I decided to adapt the recipe and I added the pancetta and broccoli:
– 3 slices of pancetta
– a handful of fettuccine (enough for one person)
– one stem of broccoli
– 3 large cloves of garlic
-enough salt (per a person preference I suppose)
– approx 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1. With the 3 slices of pancetta, scrunch them and slice into small pieces roughly. Set aside 2/3 for the pasta and the remainder 1/3 to fry for topping (see picture for reference)
2. Cut however much of the broccoli you wish however cut into smaller bite sized pieces as this would make cooking easier and faster
3. Dice the 3 cloves of garlic
1. Bring the water to a boil
2. Simultaneously put the olive oil into a pan and turn to medium heat
3. Lightly salt the pan. At this point the water should be at boiling point so put in the pasta and cook at high heat for 4 mins and 4 mins at medium heat. At the 2 min mark in medium heat, try a noodle for al dente (a chewy-ness). If not al dente, cook for another 2-3 mins.
3. Bring the pan to medium heat, at which point add the garlic and the pancetta to the pan. Cook for 5-8 min until the garlic and pancetta have browned. Remember to not crowd the pancetta otherwise they will take longer to cook.
4. At this point the pasta should be cooked to al dente. Drain the water thoroughly and then add to the pan at the 6 min mark. Toss to evenly spread the pancetta, garlic and olive oil.
5. Extract the pasta into a plate but DO NOT pour out the oil. The leftover oil will be for the broccoli and the 1/3 pancetta.
6. At high heat, cook the pancetta until it has browned (milk chocolate brown). Serve on the pasta. KEEP THE OIL.
6. At high heat, sautée the broccoli with salt for about 4 min in which at the 2 min mark, add half a shot of water and cover to steam for the remainder of the 2 mins. The goal is to preserve the crunchy texture and freshness/nutrients of the broccoli.
7. Serve with the pasta on the same plate. Add fresh ground pepper if desired or more salt for seasoning.
I realize that by the time you serve the broccoli on the pasta, the pasta would be not as ‘fresh’ as it was when it first came out. I was fine with this but you could return the pasta to the pan for a quick 1 min re heat ( do not microwave).