After a day of shopping at the outlets (bought way too much!) and hitting up a Long Island winery (big no no after just being in Napa Valley!), my sister, brother-in-law and I were in the mood for a hearty pasta dish. Nick started rattling off ingredients in the car ride home… “I want pancetta, onions, mushrooms, peas, a creamy sauce with bucatini pasta. You know like caramalized onions and crispy pancetta. I’m stopping at North Shore Farms to get those ingredients…. Christina what do we need for Alfredo sauce? You’re cooking.” Up for the challenge of your vision bro!
Let me tell you, this came out delicious. So delicious that Danielle who despises peas didn’t mind picking them out of her dish, so delicious that my niece was eatting ALL of her peas and wanting more. Danielle made a nice garlic bread on the side, pair with a glass of wine and we had the comfort we were looking for. Sure, maybe you’re supposed to BBQ on Labor Day weekend, but this pasta was so worth breaking that rule! The key to this dish was one pan. Building on one flavor after another from cooking in one pan… It married all the flavors together perfectly so no matter what you got in your bite, it had the perfect taste of everything. Here’s how the dish came together. I would say it was a success!
1/4 pancetta sliced thick from the deli counter, cut into strips
6 0z baby Bella mushrooms, chopped
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
1 tsp sugar
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup frozen peas
1 lb bucatini pasta
Salt and pepper
In a nonstick large skillet brown the pancetta until crispy. Remove only the pancetta to a paper towel, leaving the oil which cooked off in the pan. Removing to a paper towel will drain the excess oil leaving the pancetta crispy. Add the onions, mushrooms and sugar to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook about 20 minutes, stirring every once in awhile. You want the onions and mushrooms to cook down and caramalized, not crisp up and burn. The sugar will help you do this. Do this over a medium flame.
While the onions and mushrooms caramelize, start boiling a big pot of water for the pasta. Cook the pasta to just about al dente as you’ll finish it off in the sauce later. Save about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
Once the onions and mushrooms have caramalized, remove them from the pan and wipe out any excess brown bits from the bottom. Add in the garlic and butter and cook on a low flame until the butter is melted. Add the cream, salt and lots of pepper. Once this is simmering, mix in the cheese and then add the peas.
Add back in the pasta, onions, mushrooms and pancetta and toss to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta water or even chicken stock to loosen as you desire. Make some garlic bread on the side and enjoy!