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Author Notes: My junior year of college I spent a semester living with a host family in Strasbourg, France. This recipe evolved from a quick dinner that my host mother would make after a busy day at work. —SarahMK
- 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
- 1/4 pound pancetta or thick cut bacon, cubed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thin
- 1 large head of broccoli florets removed and cut into large bite sized pieces, stems discarded for another use
- Splash of dry white wine
- 1 8 oz container creme fraiche
- 1/4 cup shredded pecorino romano cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- When water is at a rolling boil, add broccoli and cook for 1-2 minutes, until just slightly tender. Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon and drop into a bowl of ice water. Drain and set aside.
- Add penne to boiling water. Cook until al dente, or soft on the outside with a very slight bite in the center. Reserve a few tablespoons of the starchy salted pasta water.
- While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add pancetta and some freshly ground black pepper. After about 3 minutes, add sliced garlic.
- Cook until pancetta is brown and crispy. Remove pancetta and garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- While pan is still hot, add a splash of white wine to deglaze, scraping up any bits from the pancetta.
- Add the container of creme fraiche and lower heat slightly. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 4 minutes and add broccoli, and pancetta and garlic mix.
- Sauce is ready when it coats the back of a spoon, about 6-8 minutes. Stir the sauce regularly being careful not to let it burn.
- Add cooked pasta and about 3/4 of the cheese. If necessary, add a few tablespoons of salted pasta water to loosen the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately, topped with more pecorino cheese.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Broccoli/Broccoli Rabe Dish
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