Sunday, January 22, 2012

Taste of the Forest Gemelli with Mushrooms & Pancetta

Prep/Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

13 oz/375 g  gemelli (any short tubular or twisty pasta would be great too)
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6oz/165g pancetta, coarsely chopped
8 oz/225g mushrooms (I like wild mushrooms or at least cremini or shitaki for this dish)
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 large clove garlic, minced
juice & zest of half a lemon
handful of arugula
large pinch of red chili pepper flakes

1. Cook the pasta in boiling water with 1 tbsp salt. It should be al dente (about 7-8 minutes) and drain, reserving one cup of pasta liquid.

2. In the meantime, using a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the pancetta, using a touch of oil if needed.  Cook until some are crispy before adding the mushrooms and a bit more oil if needed. Add the garlic, thyme, red chili pepper flakes and lemon zest.   Toss and cook until the mushrooms brown well.   

3. Mix well and add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss.  Add the lemon juice, arugula (just enough time to bring out the flavour, wilt it a little, but still keep that glorious green) and, if needed some of the pasta cooking water and/or olive oil to get the consistency you like.  Taste for seasoning.  You might want to add more of chili peppers to give more heat to the dish. 

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