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  • Writer's pictureEmma Tierson

Brie and Pancetta Pasta

Brie and pancetta pasta comes together in a quick 20 minutes! Perfect for a weeknight dinner when you want to feel a bit more gourmet but are absolutely wiped out.



So what is pancetta? And can I just use bacon?

Pancetta is essentially Italian bacon. It comes from the same part of the pig, pork belly, and is also a cured meat. The main difference between bacon and pancetta is the preparation.

To make bacon, pork belly sides are brined and then smoked. Pancetta, the Italian version of bacon, is made by seasoning a pork belly side with salt and lots of pepper, curling it into a tight roll, and wrapping it in a casing to hold the shape. It’s cured, but it isn’t smoked.

Sure, you could use bacon but it's going to have a different taste. So I'm going to recommend you opt for the pancetta. Odds are it will cost less money than buying that good butcher shop bacon.



While I'm out here telling you what groceries to buy, I'm going to key you in on a time saver. Pre-sliced mushrooms. Just be sure to look for the best-looking mushrooms, you may look a bit crazy going through every container, but it's better than the alternative-finding out you have rotting mushrooms because you were lazy and forgot to look. That's something I've never done...clearly.




Look at these beautifully cooked pre-sliced mushrooms! They are just as good as mushrooms you slice at home.


You may have heard of this tip before, but if you are making your own sauce for pasta, then save a cup of the starchy pasta water before you drain it all. Why is this a thing? Because it will make the silky-smoothest sauce you have ever made through the process of emulsification.


All in all, it is 100% worth it.




Next free piece of advice: Take the rind off of your brie.


Yes. The rind is edible.

No. It does not belong in a sauce that is supposed to be smooth.

Yes. It will help the cheese melt faster.



Like I said before, this recipe comes together very quickly. While the pasta is boiling you can saute the rest of the ingredients. By the time you're ready to combine the pasta water with the rest of the sauce, you'll be ready to strain the pasta.



I made this dish because I'm obsessed with brie cheese and Aldi made it affordable for me to justify cooking with it. At Aldi, I can get a small wheel of cheese for $3-4, whereas at Kroger or Wegmans that same wheel of cheese would cost me a minimum of $10. I'm so excited to cook up more brie-based dishes...I think I'll have to try a brie omelet at some point. But for now, this dish is everything.





 

Brie and Pancetta Pasta


Ingredients


1 lb Pasta

1 lb bag Frozen Spinach

8oz Sliced Mushrooms

Small Wheel of Brie Cheese

4oz Diced Pancetta

3 Sliced Garlic Cloves

1 Tb Olive Oil

Garlic Powder

Salt

Pepper


Directions


Start by cutting the rind off of the brie and cutting it into cubes. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta (whatever type you prefer) to the directions on the box. Be sure to add salt to the water. Reserve around 1 cup of starchy water before you strain the pasta in a colander. Add some salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the reserved water. Using a large skillet heat your oil on medium heat. Saute the pancetta, mushrooms, and garlic until the pancetta is crispy and the mushrooms are golden. Once they are cooked set them aside. Heat up spinach either by microwaving it if it is steamable or by sauteing in the same pan you just used for 3-5 minutes. Set the cooked spinach aside and turn the heat down to low. Put the brie cubes in the saute pan. Once they are nicely melted add the pancetta mixture and the reserved water. Mix until combined. Then add the spinach and pasta. Toss until everything is combined and then serve while hot.





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