CLASSIC pasta penne with roasted garlic, pancetta and arugula








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If you haven't tasted the treat of roasted garlic, this is the time to do it.

for the sauce:

  • two tablespoons olive oil
  • four medium size bulbs of garlic
  • three tablespoons plus some more of extra virgin olive oil
  • one-half pound pancetta
  • one large pinch of red pepper flakes
  • one teaspoon lemon juice
  • five cups arugula, roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • one half cup freshly grated parmesan

for the pasta:

  • one pound of penne or a similar tubular pasta

Roast the garlic: Oven at 375 degrees. Without breaking the garlic heads, remove as much of the paper-like coating from them that you can. Trim the tops and bottoms. Put in a small baking dish along with one-quarter cup of water. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and drizzle with a few drops of olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil and bake. Check every twenty minutes and baste. Add a touch more water if needed. Bake until the garlic is soft, about one hour. One should be able to pierce the garlic easily with a paring knife.

Bring 4-5 quarts of water to a boil. Add two tablespoons of salt. Drop in the pasta and stir. Continue cooking until al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of the pasta liquid.

Put the olive oil in a saute pan (large enough to hold the pasta when done) over medium heat. Add the pancetta and red pepper flakes. Saute until the pancetta is cooked through, but not browned, about three to four minutes.

Peel the garlic -- it can frequently be popped out of its outer skin. Chop it fairly finely and add to saute pan. Add the lemon juice, a half teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Saute another minute.

Add the drained pasta to the sauce, along with a half cup of the reserved liquid. Add the arugula and heat over a low heat until the arugula wilts.

Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Serve with parmesan.



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