Apparently today is World Pasta Day! So I thought I’d post one of my all time favourite pasta recipes. I make this a lot. It’s so quick and easy. Perfect for those days when you get home late but still want a proper, delicious, comforting dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. The whole meal pretty much takes as long to make as the pasta takes to cook.
As you may know, in an effort to get my Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune form of an under-active or hypothyroid) under control, I’ve been going gluten free for the past few months. I now make this with Dove’s Farm brown rice spaghetti or sometimes other gluten free pasta, and it works just as well! And the spinach makes you feel like you’re not being too indulgent. If you use wholemeal pasta or brown rice pasta like me, then you can feel positively virtuous about eating this! I know I do…
All you’ll need is a handful of ingredients, a large heavy-bottomed pan to make the sauce, another for the pasta and barely any prep time. It couldn’t be any simpler. It’s my go to recipe when I get home late – for example after a yoga class when I’m absolutely starving and need to eat asap! Once you’ve boiled the kettle, thrown the pasta in to cook, and got the pancetta browning, you’re on the home stretch. In my gluten-full days, I liked using lovely golden egg tagliatelle or pappardelle, but you could also use spaghetti or linguine, the choice is yours.
80 – 100g egg tagliatelle, or long pasta of your choice
tablespoon fine sea salt
2 tsp olive oil (regular not extra virgin)
70g diced smoked pancetta (or good quality smoky bacon lardons)
1 clove of garlic
100g baby spinach, organic if possible
60ml double cream
60ml dry white wine
freshly ground black pepper to taste
20g parmesan, plus extra for serving
In a large pot, bring 1.5 litres of water to the boil, then add your salt. This might seem like too much salt, but trust me. If you make sure that your pasta water is salty enough, then you don’t need any oil in the water. Plus it’s the only time that you can season the pasta itself, so don’t be scared to add that much salt. You’re not actually going to eat it all, but it will make a difference to the flavour of the finished dish.
Drop your pasta in and give it a stir. Follow the cooking times on the packet. Mine took about 8 minutes but it will vary depending on the shape that you’re using. NOTE: Gluten free pasta is a bit more fiddly to cook, but Dove’s Farm spaghetti usually takes me about 7-9 minutes. Keep your eyes on it and follow whatever instructions are on the packet!
Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Fry the pancetta until crispy.
Smash the garlic clove carefully with the flat side of your knife. This will break open the skin and makes it easier to peel off. Slice the garlic finely.
Grate the parmesan so you’ll have it ready when needed.
Add the spinach to the pan, along with the garlic. As the spinach begins to wilt, pour in the white wine and let it bubble up, then let it reduce for about a minute.
Add the cream and the grated parmesan, along with as much black pepper as you like (I like plenty). You should now have a lovely creamy sauce ready to coat the pasta. Take it off the heat if your pasta is not quite ready by now. Otherwise proceed with the pan still on the heat.
Reserve a little cupful of the starchy cooking water from the pasta pot. This is key for getting the sauce to be as silky as possible. Drain the pasta (or pull it out with a pasta claw if you have one) and drop it into the sauce. Toss to coat the pasta evenly, adding splashes of the starchy water as needed, until the pasta is coated well. Serve immediately with some more grated parmesan sprinkled on top and another grinding of black pepper.
And most importantly, enjoy!