Penne with Broccoli andĀ Pancetta

January 12, 2010
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

  • Serves 4
  • 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
In This Recipe
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Cook until pancetta is brown and crispy. Remove pancetta and garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  6. While pan is still hot, add a splash of white wine to deglaze, scraping up any bits from the pancetta.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Serve immediately, topped with more pecorino cheese.

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