Pasta with Pancetta and Beans

I recently came across an Italian Deli at the local farmers’ market and have been cooking up a storm since. All the imported pancetta, prosciutto and cheeses have re-awakened my inner chef. I’ve always meant to write down my winning recipes for future reference, so here I have decided to start.

And just a note: I don’t really measure my ingredients (especially spices), so these are just my best estimate. You can adjust yours to taste.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. pasta (I like orecchiette for this dish, the little bowl shaped pasta holds the sauce nicely, but any kind of pasta will do.)
  • olive oil
  • 4 oz. pancetta, chopped
  • 16 oz. can of cannellini beans or garbanzo beans, drained (the cannellini beans give this dish a creamier texture, but the garbanzo beans add a nice texture too.)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups diced Roma tomatoes (you can use canned or fresh)
  • dry white wine
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large pot, bring heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al-dente. Don’t cook all the way. It will finish cooking in the sauce later.
  2. In a large sauté pan, coat the bottom with about two turns of olive oil. Add pancetta and cook until crispy. Remove the cooked pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and let rest on a paper towel.
  3. Return the pan to the burner and add onions. Cook until translucent.
  4. Add garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Cook just a few minutes, be careful not to burn the garlic.
  5. Add white wine and scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add cannellini beans, tomatoes and a few ladles of your pasta water. Stir and wait until it gets bubbly, then turn down the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens a little.
  7. Add the pasta, stir and cook for about 5 minutes until your pasta is tender and the sauce is thickened. Right before serving, add the pancetta back in and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
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