Wish Upon A Dish: Fettuccine with Pancetta, Brie, Escarole and Pine Nut Bread Crumbs

September 24, 2012

Fettuccine with Pancetta, Brie, Escarole and Pine Nut Bread Crumbs



I think it's official. My favorite pasta shape is fettuccine, dry or fresh. Doesn't matter with me. Make any fettuccine with any sauce and I will eat it. Not that I don't like all the other wonderful shapes out there, but if you ask me the desert island thingy I would say fettucine.
It's wonderful with a plain butter sauce, or a cream sauce. Great with tomato and meat sauces. It has a nice flat surface to hold any sauce and there is enough tooth feel so as to actually taste the pasta and yes, good pasta has taste.

When I saw a recipe at foodandwine.com that used brie with fettucine, I just had to put it on the menu. I started out planning to make the recipe as written but I ended up with adding goat's cheese and a crunchy Italian breadcrumb and pine nut topping.
While the escarole and brie were a wonderful creamy component, I thought it screamed at me to add crunch of some kind and I needed the goat's cheese to add to, what I thought was enough brie. Someone's been having late night snacks.



I probably could have added more escarole, but I was saving half the head for another recipe, and although I was cooking for one, I forgot that escarole is like spinach, it cooks down to nothing. I will post the correct amounts with my additions and don't be like me and skimp, it's one of those vegetables that remains inexpensive which is a good thing for us escarole lovers.
The other thing I have to let you in on....while most dried pastas are in 1 pound boxes, fettuccine can weigh in at 12oz. Determine if you need more and buy an extra box. In this house 3/4 pound would make 4 servings easily.

Fettuccine with Escarole and Brie
makes 4 servings
  •  3/4 pound fettuccine (I mixed whole wheat and regular)
  •  2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  •  2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or bacon, coarsely chopped
  •  1 large garlic clove, minced
  •  1 shallot, minced 
  •  1 pound escarole, cut into 1-inch ribbons
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper 
  •  1/2 pound Brie (preferably a wedge), rind removed  
  •  1/4 cup chicken broth
  •  1 serving Italian Bread Crumb and Pine Nut topping (recipe follows)
1. In a large pot of generously salted boiling water, cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 1/4 cups of the cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, in a very large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and shallot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the escarole and broth, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, just until wilted.
3. Add the pasta to the skillet along with 1 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Cut the Brie into 1-inch pieces and add to the skillet. Cook the pasta over moderate heat, tossing, until the Brie is melted and the sauce is thick and creamy, about 4 minutes; add more of the pasta cooking water if the sauce is dry. Season the pasta with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to bowls, top with bread crumbs and serve immediately.

Pine Nut and Bread Crumb Topping
makes 4 servings
  •  2 slices sturdy bread, torn into pieces
  •  1/4 cup pine nuts
  •  1/4 cup grated cheese (Romano or Parmesan)
  •  2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •  1 teaspoon Italian Seasonings
Pulse bread in processor until the crumbs are the size of petite peas.
Add butter and seasonings and pulse until evenly distributed.
Remove to a baking pan and add the pine nuts and cheese.
Toast in a 350° oven for 8-10 minutes until the crumbs start to brown. (this can also be done in a non-stick skillet)



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1 comment :

Jordyn said...

Sue... this looks amazing! I don't even think I can get escarole out here but I must make this soon :)