Thursday, January 3, 2008

Creamy Spaghetti With Pancetta

I recently made this yummy recipe from Rachael Ray and my husband liked it so much, he asked for it again a mere 3 days later!

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

5 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
One 1/4-pound chunk pancetta or one 4-ounce package sliced pancetta, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
6 sprigs thyme
Salt and pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup dry white wine
One 15.5-ounce can Roman beans or small white beans
1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (a generous handful)

In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently.

In a wide, oval pot or a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until lightly browned, 2 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, bay leaf and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Push the veggies to the side of the pan and add the spaghetti. Lightly toast the spaghetti, turning occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the wine and simmer until completely absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the beans, then add a ladleful of the warm chicken broth. Keep adding the broth a few ladlefuls at a time, turning the noodles to absorb the liquid before adding more, as if you were making a risotto. Cook until most of the broth has been absorbed and the spaghetti is cooked until al dente, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs, then stir in the parmigiano-reggiano. Remove from the heat and stir for 1 minute.

Top with parsley prior to serving.

Tips and Tricks
I made this with Ronzoni Healthy Harvest thin spaghetti to up the fiber. Pancetta is an Italian bacon, but I left it out. I also used sherry in place of the wine, dried thyme in place of the thyme sprigs, and omitted the bay leaf and parsley. Break the spaghetti in half to fit it into the pan, and use an extra large skillet. Regular Parmesan cheese is fine. I also heated the broth in the microwave to save time.
Make It Healthier
Use whole grain pasta. Use unsalted butter or trans-fat free spread.
How Kids Can Help
Rinse beans. Break pasta. Older kids can stir in liquid.

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