A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Pancetta Pasta with Peppers, Spinach & Smoked Mozzarella

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Pancetta Pasta with Peppers, Spinach & Smoked Mozzarella

I feel like I have been sharing a LOT of pasta recipes with you, but that's probably because it's true. Alex has spent the last several months training for the Chicago Marathon, which he completed last weekend. Yay!

When Alex is marathon training, he craves carbs-- pasta, specifically. This all fine by me because I love carbs-- pasta, specifically. But, it's always a bit of a [fun] challenge to keep coming up with new pasta recipes that are flavorful, but also light and healthy. The pasta is key to Alex's training diet, but the cream sauces, meatballs, and gobs of cheese that come along with a pasta dinner are usually more of a hindrance to his training regimen than a help.

This one dish dinner gets big flavor from the addition of a little pancetta, white wine, and smoked mozzarella. The smokiness is perfect against the sweetness of the wine and also the bell peppers and onions. The peppers, onions, and spinach help to round out the meal and keep it healthy. I also almost always use a high protein or whole grain pasta when I cook now. You can hardly taste the difference and sometimes that nutty whole grain flavor actually enhances the flavor of the entire dish.

This dinner comes together really quickly, so it's ideal for a weeknight dinner. It also made about 3 main course portions, so Alex called dibs on taking the the third portion to work for lunch the next day.

  • 8 oz. short cut pasta *I used Barilla Whole Grain Rotini
  • 1 tsp. light olive oil
  • 3 oz. pancetta, diced
  • 10 mini sweet bell peppers (various colors), seeded, chopped, and stems removed
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 oz. baby spinach leaves
  • 3 oz. smoked mozzarella, diced

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet and add pancetta. Stirring often, cook pancetta until browned and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-line plate with a slotted spoon.

 Add peppers and onions to the skillet and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Carefully pour wine into the pan and simmer until the wine has thickened and cooked down by about half. Reduce heat to low and stir in spinach leaves until they begin to wilt. This should only take about a minute or two.

Remove from heat and combine the pepper mixture, pasta, pancetta, and diced mozzarella. Serve immediately.

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