This was another pasta created on the fly with ingredients out of my organic produce bin. We had friends over for dinner the other night and I needed to pull together a meal quickly. The Pancetta gives it just the right amount of fat and salt and the vegetables are fresh and incredibly delicious this time of year. It really looks and tastes like spring and it turned out to be huge hit. The friends that were there are the ones asking me to post this- so I hope you enjoy!
Fettuccine with Pancetta, Zucchini and Artichoke Bottoms
¼ lb thick cut pancetta (or you could use thick cut bacon)
2 large zucchini’s
2 large artichokes
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs chives, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
A pinch of red pepper flakes
1 lb fettuccini
Kosher salt and black pepper
½ cup parsley, finely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
In a small bowl place the olive oil, minced garlic, chives and red pepper flakes. Set aside to marinate.
Put a large pot full of salted water on the stove over medium-high heat. While you wait for the water to boil, prepare the artichokes and zucchini.
The zucchini should be sliced very thinly lengthwise, and then again, running the length (mimicking the shape of the pasta). Set the zucchini “pasta” aside.
To prepare the artichokes, trim them of all their leaves and tough green parts with a sharp knife, taking the artichoke bottom down to the tender creamy colored core. After trimming the artichokes, rub them with a lemon half and put them into the simmering pasta water along with the lemon half. Put a lid on the pan and turn the heat to low. Simmer the artichoke bottoms until tender, about 15 minutes. When the artichokes are cooked, remove the spiky, fibrous choke with a spoon. Cut the artichoke bottoms into 8 pieces each and set them aside.
While the artichokes are simmering, take a medium sauté pan out and place it over medium heat. Place the pancetta in the sauté pan, and turning frequently, cook the pancetta until crispy and all the fat has rendered. Remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside on a paper towel. Keep the pan with the rendered fat on the stove, but remove from heat.
Add the Fettuccini to the boiling water and cook to al dente according to the packages instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the pancetta fat and when hot, add the zucchini to it. Quickly sauté, adding salt to taste until the zucchini is tender and well seasoned. Place the zucchini in the bottom of the serving bowl.
When the pasta is ready, drain the water and put the pasta back in the pot. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and quickly warm the artichokes in the oil. Pour the olive oil, artichokes, zucchini and parsley into the pot and toss well to combine. Add the cheese and lightly mix further. Season with some fresh cracks of black pepper and another sprinkling of Parmesan to serve.