I know, I know, a parsnip and pancetta pasta dish…what am I thinking, how can that work? Unusual for sure but believe me when I say that it’s superb, a triumph, a taste sensation, a wonderful combination of smoked streaky bacon, creamy sweet parsnip and sharp tangy parmesan. It’s also cheap, quick to make and, as a pairing, can be used in everything from soups to risottos and roasts to casseroles.
Ingredients (serves 4)
8 slices pancetta or smoked streaky bacon
1 handful fresh rosemary or thyme, leaves picked
1 good knob butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and finely sliced
400 g dried Conchiglie or any pasta that can hold the sauce
1 good handful Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
In a large frying pan, fry your bacon and herbs in the olive oil for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and parsnips. Cook for a further 3 minutes on a medium heat, until the pancetta is slightly golden and the parsnips have softened nicely and have a creamy consistency.
Cook your pasta in salted boiling water then drain making sure to reserve a little of the cooking water.
Mix the pasta with the parsnips and pancetta and stir in the butter and the Parmesan adding a little of the cooking water to loosen the mixture and make it creamy and shiny. Season to taste.