Creamy Lemon Pasta With Pancetta and Spring Greens

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With my husband George training for the Big Sur Marathon for the past several months while we’re raising a three-month-old baby (a daily marathon!), simple weeknight pastas have been in heavy rotation at our house. As it turns out, long-distance running and newborn-induced sleep deprivation both require carbo-loading.

We love the lemon cream sauce that comes draped over freshly made bucatini at our favorite restaurant in Carmel, but it’s a time-consuming recipe, involving making a roux, then slowly simmering heavy cream, lemon zest and juice, and Parmesan together until they form a decadent sauce. I knew I had to come up with a simpler way to get our creamy lemon pasta fix.

Enter: Mascarpone cheese. Mascarpone is basically the Italian version of cream cheese, but made from whole cream versus milk, so it’s even richer and more delicious. In this recipe, we simply stir together mascarpone and some reserved pasta cooking water until it melts into a smooth sauce. 

Pro tip: Start incorporating a little pasta cooking water into all of your pasta sauces. It’s nice and starchy, and helps create creamy sauces that will cling to every nook and cranny of your pasta.

I love using orecchiette when I’m making creamy pasta dishes. It’s the type that’s shaped like little satellites, with craters that are perfect for scooping up the sauce and whatever else is in your dish—crisp, salty pancetta and hearty Swiss chard, in this case. If you can’t find pancetta, feel free to swap in bacon, or even sausage. The most beautiful bunch of greens I could find at my market was swiss chard, but use whatever looks best at yours—kale, spinach, and bok choy are all perfect in this pasta.

Find the full article on The Epoch Times.

Creamy Lemon Pasta With Pancetta and Spring Greens

Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces orecchiette pasta 
  • 3 ounces diced pancetta
  • 2 tsp olive oil, optional as needed
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 4 ounces mascarpone, room temperature
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems discarded, thinly sliced into ribbons (about 2 packed cups of greens)
  • Lemon wedges
  • Parmesan, for serving

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and drain. 
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook pancetta over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. If the pan doesn’t have a good amount of grease in it (some pancetta has less fat than others), add the olive oil. Add shallot and garlic and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until shallot and garlic are translucent. 
  • Turn the heat to low and stir in mascarpone, 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir until mascarpone is melted and a smooth sauce forms.
  • Stir in the pasta and swiss chard until the swiss chard wilts. If the pasta sauce is too thick, stir in small splashes of the reserved cooking water until it is creamy and sticks to the pasta. 
  • Serve with a lemon wedge and grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces orecchiette pasta 
  • 3 ounces diced pancetta
  • 2 tsp olive oil, optional as needed
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 4 ounces mascarpone, room temperature
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems discarded, thinly sliced into ribbons (about 2 packed cups of greens)
  • Lemon wedges
  • Parmesan, for serving
Author: Caroline Chambers

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