Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spaghetti with Pesto and Pancetta

What follows is the absolutely perfect dish for a very quick mid week supper. I can have this dish made from scratch and ready on the table in the time it takes to bring a pot of water to the boil and to cook the pasta.


400g Spaghetti or linguine pasta
Fresh Pesto (comments on quantities below)
1 onion chopped fine
2 cloves garlic chopped fine
100ml white wine
100-150g cubes of pancetta (or similar)
50ml fresh cream
Grated fresh parmesan cheese

When I haven’t been doing my Percy Thrower bit and harvesting my own plants I often use pesto sauce out of a jar. There are some very good ones available, check the ingredients and try and buy the best you can, ie try to get one that has only the ‘normal’ ingredients. There is a brand here in Dubai that only has basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan in it, no preservatives, no salt etc, and it is really very good. The brand is called "ROI" and can be found in Spinneys. They also sell a Waitrose own brand which is pretty good as well. Avoid any that has preservatives or fillers like potato and cashew nuts. Also avoid others that have 'refined oils' or oils other than olive oil.

If you can’t get pancetta substitute another smoked bacon, either lardons, or smoked streaky bacon cut into little pieces.

And then you need to:

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil over a high heat.

In a frying pan over a medium heat fry pancetta, onions and garlic together with 1 tbs EV olive oil. After about 5 minutes pour in the white wine and cook until almost all reduced.

When the water has reached a boil put in the spaghetti and cook as per packet instructions (somewhere between 8 – 12 minutes depending on brand).

Take frying pan off heat and add the pesto sauce. If you are using pesto out of a jar I would suggest 1 heaped tsp per person. If you are using fresh pesto I would probably use 1 tbsp per person.

Add the cream and stir to mix thoroughly. Place back on heat over a very low flame and warm through.

Drain spaghetti in a colander, return to large pan and pour pesto/bacon sauce over the pasta. Stir to mix and either serve straight onto plates or into one large bowl. Grate fresh parmesan on top, garnish with a couple of basil leaves and serve. You can also toss a small handful of toasted pine nuts on top too for a little bit of something special.

That’s it, 15 minutes from start to finish.

No comments: