Skillet pasta stands the usual pasta cooking method on its head by cooking it right in the pan. It works well with spelt pasta shapes like the rotini we used, or another twisted pasta. We particularly like somewhat bitter greens like mustard or dandelions in it, which make a nice contrast to the woody shiitakes and meaty chunks of pancetta.
Spelt Skillet Pasta with Mushrooms, Pancetta, and Wilted GreensPrep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1/4 pound pancetta, diced
- 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms, woody stems trimmed
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 serrano chile pepper, stemmed and minced
- 5 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 pound dried fusilli or other short, twisted pasta
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch greens, such as dandelion, mustard, or kale, stems trimmed and leaves cut into 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until it’s lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
- Add shiitakes and toss in the pan until well coated with oil. Sauté for about 5 minutes more, stirring often, until the mushrooms are brown and the pancetta has rendered most of its fat.
- Add serrano chile and shallot. Cook until just softened, about 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and transfer the contents to a bowl.
- Put the stock into the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the spelt rotini. Stir the pasta occasionally and cook until it’s a little less than al dente. Add the greens to the skillet.
- Cook for about another minute, then then stir in pancetta mixture, including all the fat that was rendered from the pancetta.
- Continue cooking until the pasta is al dente, the greens are wilted, and most of the liquid has been absorbed into the pasta and made a creamy sauce. If the liquid has evaporated before the pasta is quite al dente, add water a teaspoon at a time.
- Remove the pan from the stove, stir in lemon juice and drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve right away in pasta bowls and pass the parmesan at the table.