Dinner with Kirsten

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Pasta in 15 Minutes?

May 26th, 2008 · No Comments

Lemon Pasta

I’m a sucker for a good time gimmick. I used to watch Rachael Ray’s Food Network show 30 Minute Meals, just waiting for the episode when she would be forced to turn to the camera and say, “Whoop-see! Guess we’re out of time!”

That’s why, unless it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, I always flip to the “quick and easy” section of my favorite food magazines—it’s all I have the time or patience for. When I saw the “15 dishes in 15 minutes” feature in the June issue of Bon Appétit, I thought I would have 15 worry-free meals to look forward to. And I started with this simple pasta recipe.

Let’s just say that if I were making this recipe for a cooking show it would have been a “Whoop-see!” episode. I consider myself an efficient cook, and it took me close to an hour to finish this “15 minute dish.” I chopped and grated and juiced and melted and measured for 30-40 minutes before I even started cooking.

The final verdict? The dish is still great. The lemon-thyme sauce was a wonderful change from the tomato-based ragùs I played around with all winter. And the pancetta cubes were like crunchy savory candy scattered throughout.

Lemon Pasta

Lemon Fettuccine Primavera with Pancetta
Adapted from Bon Appétit

4 to 8 ounces 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick slices pancetta or thick-cut bacon slices, cut into cubes
1 broccoli stalk, cut into bite-sized florets
1 zucchini, cut into bite-sized rounds
1 yellow summer squash, cut into bite-sized rounds
1/2 cup mushroom-of-choice, cut into bite-sized pieces
9-12 ounces fresh or dried fettuccine (I used whole wheat fresh pasta, from Whole Foods)
1/4 cup (or a little less) butter, melted
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Sauté pancetta in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat until almost crisp and brown. Transfer to paper towels. Drain most of the fat, and sauté the mushrooms in the same pan until soft.

Cook broccoli in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to medium bowl. Repeat with zucchini and yellow squash, being careful not to overcook. Transfer to the same bowl with a slotted spoon. Add pasta to same boiling water; cook until tender, stirring occasionally.

Drain pasta; return to same pot. Add next 5 ingredients. Toss over low heat to coat. Add pancetta, vegetables, and cheese; toss to blend. Season pasta with pepper.

Tags: dinner · food media · italian · quick fix

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