Prep Time
40 Mins
4 servings (serving size: about 2 cups)

Pasta is the perfect weeknight meal. Your family will love the comforting flavors, and you'll love that it's surprisingly low in calories.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 400°.

Step 2

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; add asparagus to pan during last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain. Sprinkle pasta mixture with garlic; return to pan, and toss well.

Step 3

Arrange pine nuts in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 3 minutes or until golden and fragrant, stirring occasionally. Place in a small bowl.

Step 4

Increase oven temperature to 475°.

Step 5

Arrange pancetta on jelly-roll pan. Bake at 475° for 6 minutes or until crisp.

Step 6

Combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with pine nuts, pancetta, and cheese.

Chef's Notes

Pine nuts are particularly delicious in this dish, but walnuts would also be tasty.

Ratings & Reviews

KMH21418's Review

May 22, 2014
This is delicious! I will definitely make it again and share the recipe with others. I followed a couple of the review suggestions and did not use the oven- set aside the pine nuts after toasting in a nonstick pan, then browned the pancetta and the garlic (I don't like it raw) in the same pan. My husband happily enjoyed cold leftovers the next day.

Amy0324's Review

December 19, 2013
This was delicious! I did not make this according to the recipe. I dry roasted the pine nuts in a large pan & set aside. In the same pan I sautéed the asparagus & pancetta while I made the pasta. I added all the other ingredients to the pan (along with the pasta), tossed everything together, then topped with cheese & pine nuts. This is a keeper!

Light and flavorful!

June 27, 2016
This is marvelous - I wondered if I'd miss some sort of creaminess in the sauce, but it's flavorful and light and quick and easy. I dry-toasted my pine nuts and sauteed my pancetta and garlic, got it nice and crispy, and then spooned off  the drippings before adding to the pasta. Totally hit the spot, especially for a summer meal. This will definitely be going into my personal recipe collection!

This pasta salad is downright craveable

May 04, 2016
EVERYONE that eats this loves it and warning: it's completely addicting. I find myself daydreaming about it. The toasted pine nuts give the most incredible richness and crunch, the pancetta gives just a dab of salt and decadence to a nice, healthy recipe, and the light lemon juice dressing makes Ranch look completely pedestrian. This is the pasta salad that people will request you start bringing to every BBQ, and it makes a really excellent weeknight dinner as well. Stop everything and make it now! 

Easy and delicious

March 06, 2016
I also didn't bother with the oven - pre-toasted the pine nuts in a skillet then while the pasta cooked, I sauteed the pancetta and asparagus in the same skillet, adding the minced garlic in during the last 3 minutes.  Drained the pasta then tossed everything together.  Nice flavor combination.  Even my teenager who isn't much of a fan of lemony dishes liked this one.  Will definitely make again.

Simple - Full of all the right flavors and covers the palette...

April 26, 2015
Delicious! You can even omit the salt if you get good Italian Pancetta. I swapped the noodles for All wheat vegetable rotini. Will make again!

marge35's Review

May 22, 2014

Anghara's Review

May 21, 2014

kld4972's Review

April 27, 2014

rhm118's Review

March 13, 2014
My husband and I loved this recipe! He ate about 2/3 of the whole batch and requested it again!!! I roasted the asparagus, pine nuts, and pancetta all in the same pan - very easy, little clean up, and a quick meal.