I followed the recipe as written; delicious and I wouldn't change a thing. Served with a green salad.
Penne with Pancetta, Spinach, and Buttery Crumb Topping
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro
Pancetta is cured pork, similar in taste to bacon. The pancetta and cheesy sauce make this pasta dish a good vehicle for spinach, a vegetable Aaron wouldn't ordinarily enjoy. Serve with salad.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
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Amount per serving
- Calories: 505
- Calories from fat: 29%
- Fat: 16.1g
- Saturated fat: 7.9g
- Monounsaturated fat: 5.6g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 1.6g
- Protein: 19.5g
- Carbohydrate: 70.8g
- Fiber: 3.8g
- Cholesterol: 37mg
- Iron: 3.6mg
- Sodium: 893mg
- Calcium: 157mg
- 8 ounces French bread
- Cooking spray
- 3/4 cup (3 ounces) chopped pancetta
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 ounces)
- 3 3/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 6 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 cups hot cooked penne (about 1 pound uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 4 cups; set aside.
- Heat a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add pancetta, onion, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a small bowl; gradually add 3/4 cup milk, stirring until smooth. Add flour mixture, remaining 3 cups milk, and half-and-half to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add spinach; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, salt, and pepper, stirring until cheese melts.
- Place pasta in a large bowl. Add sauce mixture to pasta; toss well. Spoon mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine breadcrumbs and butter; toss well. Sprinkle over pasta mixture.
- Bake at 425° for 6 minutes or until crumbs are lightly browned.
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