Pasta with broccolini and pancetta

5 November 2017

Pasta with broccolini and pancetta The stem is by far the best part of the broccoli plant. Broccolini is therefore a miraculous invention, tasting very similar to broccoli but with a much more satisfying stem to floret ratio. Hopefully one day science will bring us a stem-only plant so we can be rid of those pesky florets once and for all. You can make this dish with asparagus, green beans, or even broad beans, but as you can probably tell I really like broccolini.

  • For two servings:
    300–400 g broccolini, sliced in half lengthwise and chopped into thirds
    3–4 garlic cloves, chopped
    80–100 g diced pancetta or bacon
    Juice of 1 lemon, or a splash of white wine
    A bunch of parsley, chopped
    100 g parmesan
    150–200 g pasta (I like to use linguine)
    Chilli flake, olive oil
  • In a large pan, cook the pancetta in a generous glug of olive oil over a medium heat for about 5–10 minutes, until just starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for a further five minutes or so until everything is crispy and golden. Remove the pancetta and garlic and set aside, leaving the oil in the pan.
  • Put the broccolini, a pinch of chilli flake, and a splash of wine (if using) or water into the same pan and cover with a lid. Cook over a medium heat for about 5–7 minutes, until the broccoli has nearly become tender but is still a little crunchy. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of very salty water to the boil and cook the pasta until nearly done. Reserve a mug of pasta water and put the drained pasta into the pan with the broccolini. Add the lemon juice, if using, and some pasta water if needed. Cook over a medium-high heat, tossing constantly, for a minute or so, until the sauce is emulsified.
  • Toss in the parsley, and serve topped with parmesan, the crispy pancetta and garlic, and more olive oil if desired.