Quick Dinner: Pancetta and Leek Pasta
On a weekday evening, when I’ve forgotten to take something from the freezer and I need to get dinner on the table fast I tend to turn to pasta and try to throw something together. Pancetta Cubes are my favourite “quick fix” ingredient to serve with the pasta, they keep in the fridge for weeks, or the freezer for months, and instantly add taste to a pasta dish, a baked potato or a salad. If you’re not familiar with pancetta, it’s basically cubed smoked streaky rashers, it used to be hard to find but these days you’ll always find it in Aldi or Lidl. The cubes handily come in a segregated pack too, so use 100g now and the other 100g another time.
The usual drill is boil kettle, root out pancetta, open vegetable drawer and seek inspiration. Sauté. Lob contents of pan on top of drained pasta, stir, eat. That’s pretty much the recipe, with the small boy wrestling left out, but I’ve written it out more nicely below. This is a tasty quick fix, the kids loved it and so did we.
Pancetta and Leek Pasta Recipe
100g pancetta cubes
200g pasta shapes- I used fusili (You will know how much pasta you and your people will eat).
2 tablespoons creme fraiche (or Philadelphia works too which I found out when the creme fraiche was all gone)
Serves 2, and easily doubles.
Boil kettle, find saucepan, cook pasta as normal.
Clean and slice leek (here’s a lovely post about preparing and cleaning leeks if it’s all new to you).
Find frying pan, add pancetta (no oil needed as the pancetta is fatty) and leek and saute over a medium heat til the leeks are soft.
When pasta is cooked to your liking drain it, reserving about half a cup of the cooking water and return the drained pasta back in to the saucepan. To reserve the cooking wateryou can either try to strain it into a cup to begin with, or ladle out some water before straining.
Add the leek and pancetta including any juices from the pan to the saucepan of pasta, then add a little of the cooking water to make sure it’s moist, and one tablespoon of creme fraiche/Philadelphia. Stir well and survey. If you’d like it creamier then add more creme fraiche/Philadelphia. Season with black pepper and serve.