Pasta with Pancetta and Asparagus

February 21, 2018 By Cathy — 1 Comment
Elevate your usual pasta with creamy mascarpone sauce, fresh asparagus and toasty breadcrumbs, ready in under 30 mins!

Pasta with Pancetta and Asparagus

After months of chilly weather, slushy snow and skin so dry and scaley I could make a salmon jealous, I caught a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. Sure it’s an unseasonable (yet very welcome) 70 degrees in the northeast today, but that’s not the light I’m talking about. The light I glimpsed was a tall stalk of green at the market. Long, slender, taut, spears of asparagus banded together like little happy ambassadors to warmer days. The early indicators that spring is in fact in the not so distant future.

Pasta with Pancetta and Asparagus

 

Pasta with Pancetta and Asparagus

When I see asparagus I automatically think spring…bright green soup, simply roasted and lightly salted spears served for Easter or Passover, or bright, lemony risotto studded with crisp-tender green rounds. Lemon and asparagus go hand in hand, but add a little salty pork and creamy sauce to the mix and we have dinner.

This meal bridges the gap between warm and cold, comfort food and lighter fare. It’s hearty enough for those cold days that are without a doubt still to come, but also a little lighter, brighter, and reminiscent of spring.

Pasta with Pancetta and Asparagus

My readers often request quick and easy recipes that are ideal for weeknights and family-friendly. In my house, that means an all-in-one pasta dish like this creamy pasta with sausage and mushrooms (one of the most popular recipes on the blog) or today’s pasta with asparagus and pancetta. The trick is to prep all of your ingredients and get the sauce going as your pasta cooks. Remember to reserve a cup or two of that starchy pasta water for the sauce and definitely don’t skip the cheesy, toasted breadcrumbs for a little crunch. Spring may not be upon us yet, but at least we can get a taste of it at the dinner table.

Pasta with Pancetta and Asparagus

 

Pasta with Pancetta and Asparagus

Pasta with Pancetta and Asparagus
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 
Elevate your usual pasta with creamy mascarpone sauce, fresh asparagus and toasty breadcrumbs, ready in under 30 mins!
Course: Pasta
Cuisine: American
Keyword: asparagus pasta
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 656 kcal
Ingredients
Pasta
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz pancetta, small dice
  • 1 shallot, minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 8 oz mascarpone
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 lb orecchiette, cooked al dente, 1 1/2 cups pasta water reserved
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, minced
  • Kosher salt and pepper
Toasted Bread Crumb
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, minced
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the pancetta and cook until browned, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove the pancetta to a paper towel lined plate, but don't drain the skillet.
  3. Add the shallot and garlic and cook over medium heat until fragrant and golden, about 2 mins. Add the asparagus and cook until bright green and barely tender, about 4 mins more. Add the white wine and cook until reduced by half.
  4. Stir in the mascarpone, lemon zest and juice, cheese, and about 1 cup reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper and cook until slightly thickened and bubbly.
  5. Reduce heat to low. Mix in the cooked pasta, parsley, cooked pancetta, and adjust seasoning. Add additional pasta water to thin if desired.
  6. To serve, spoon into bowls and top with toasted bread crumbs.
  7. Toasted Bread Crumbs: Heat olive oil in a small saute pan over med/high heat. Add the breadcrumbs, parmesan and parsley and stir well to coat. Cook for 3-5 mins, stirring frequently, until golden brown and toasted.
Nutrition Facts
Pasta with Pancetta and Asparagus
Amount Per Serving
Calories 656 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 49%
Saturated Fat 15g 75%
Cholesterol 55mg 18%
Sodium 315mg 13%
Potassium 253mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 66g 22%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 3g
Protein 18g 36%
Vitamin A 14.1%
Vitamin C 4.4%
Calcium 15.4%
Iron 10.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Pasta with Pancetta and Asparagus

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Filed Under: Main Dishes, Recipe

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