Thanks to tumblr friends
Several weeks ago when I asked my readers for recipe ideas, missminifer tempted me to make a yummy, creamy dish she called, “globe artichoke & pancetta pasta”. She actually said that this particular dish from The Flavour Thesaurus was literally the most delicious thing she had tried all year! Her description was excellent: “You fry the pancetta till crispy while you cook the pasta then stir the cooked pasta with a jar of sliced globe artichokes, cream, loads of Parmesan & the crispy pancetta, lay mozzarella over it in a baking dish, scatter with breadcrumbs, then bake until crispy & golden & serve with a large glass of cold white wine.”
Whoa. I was hooked. So at a time of year when I should be doing double-time on the treadmill, I invited our daughter Jill over to help me recreate this ethereal-sounding comfort food. I had done some internet searching but couldn’t find the recipe or anything similar online. Buying the book wasn’t a viable option. We were going to have to figure out the proportions on our own. My apologies ahead of time if we fell short of the original, but my friends, this was soooo good.
I baked my version in ramekins just to be different, but you certainly wouldn’t need to. It’s a rich dish so this would easily feed four or five people. I would suggest serving it with a tart, green salad. And that big glass of cold white wine is a must!
Artichoke and pancetta pasta, a recipe inspired by Miss Minifer and The Flavour Thesaurus, but recreated by me and our daughter Jill.
- 4 ounces pancetta, diced
- 2 large shallots, minced
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 cups freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (very lightly packed)
- 1/2 pound penne pasta, cooked only until al dente
- 1 can best-quality, quartered artichoke hearts, drained and pieces cut in half
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup lightly toasted fresh bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook penne pasta in salted water until al dente.
In the meantime, in a large sauce pan over medium heat, fry the pancetta until crispy. Remove pancetta from pan and set aside. Sauté the minced shallot in the remaining pancetta fat and cook until golden. Add the cream and the Parmesan cheese and whisk until sauce thickens. (This may take several minutes, as mine actually needed to reduce somewhat.) Stir in the pancetta, artichokes and pasta.
Pour into a lightly greased casserole dish. Sprinkle grated mozzarella over and then scatter top with bread crumbs.
Bake casserole until hot and bubbly and beginning to golden around the edges. Bread crumbs will be crispy. Enjoy with a large glass of cold, white wine!