October 26, 2010

Pasta with Broccoli, Lemon and Pancetta

Are those wagon wheels?

That was MM's first question to me when I served this dish. I paused, frantically searching my brain for the Italian word for wheels, and nothing. So, I said, yes, they are wagon wheels. I felt so defeated. Luckily, in the light of day, the good ole internet informs me that they are called "rotelle." I am so glad that mystery is solved.

This is the second or third time I have made this recipe (first one is here), and we will keep going back to it. It is quick, balanced and flavorful.

The original recipe calls for fettuccine, but long pastas bug me. I hate it when they stick together in the pasta water; I hate all that twirling; I hate when you can't get one bite on the fork, so you have to bite off the pasta and it either hits your face or makes a mess in some other way; and I hate that it is close to impossible to get a forkful of all of the dish's components (it's either the pasta or the toppings; take your pick). So I decided fettuccine wasn't the right pasta shape for us.

I had a box of Barilla piccolini mini wheels in the back of the pantry for over a year now (could even be two) and I decided it was high time that I used them for something. You will be shocked to know that a) I bought them because I had a coupon and they are cute (I end up with lots of things because they are cute: exhibit 1, my husband, exhibit 2, Gaby, exhibit 3, Patton, and the list goes on) and b) since buying them, I have not seen a recipe that actually calls for rotelle! Please try to control your shock and horror. Anyway, they were the perfect vehicle for this sauce! Easy to stab with the fork and easy to stack up with lemony broccoli, crisp salty pancetta and the sweet caramelized onions.

Yes, that's right, I added onions to this dish. I just couldn't stand letting the pancetta drippings go to waste, so I sliced up a half an onion that had been chilling in the fridge (haha get it?) since last week and threw it into the pan post-pancetta. Delicious! I wouldn't think of making this recipe in the future without an onion.

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