Whole Wheat Pasta with Pancetta and Kale-Chardonnay, Pinot Noir Pairing

Yes it’s Friday once again (or was), and time to roll up your sleeves and get cooking in your kitchen. You know you want to show off the skills you have been mastering since trying my innovative recipes.

This week I have given you a simple Italian dish that is tasty and easy to make. It’s a basic pasta dish, but the key is to build up the flavors, starting with the pancetta and building on yummy flavors from there.

The recipe calls for a whole wheat pasta, but any pasta will work of course, but the whole wheat makes you feel less guilty for eating such a rich dish. Be sure to use quality ingredients, get decent pancetta, bacon will of course work, but pancetta takes it to a more delicate level. Use the cheeses this dish calls for, as fontina melts very well and makes for a creamy yet light sauce. 

The recipe also calls for kale, and if you have never worked with it, it is similar to swiss chard, or collard greens, and it’s very high in vitamins as well.

To pair with this dish I have given you both a white wine and a red wine to choose from. Chardonnay tends to be sweet/acidic which works well as the acidity cuts the cream of the fontina and the sweetness counteracts the bitterness of the kale. The Pinot Noir tends to have cherry and raspberry notes which again cuts the nuttiness found in the cheese.

So enjoy your weekend, prepare a nice meal for yourself and your friends and relax with a nice glass of wine. Sounds like my ideal weekend actually, I am much looking forward to it! 

As always Happy Cooking, Katherine Pontius

Recipe: Whole Wheat Pasta with Pancetta and Kale

  • 4 pancetta, (2 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
  • 3 cups Kale, rinsed, rough chop
  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons grated Asiago cheese
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium canned chicken broth
  • 1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti (or your favorite pasta shape)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fontina cheese

Cook the pancetta in a pan over med-low heat cooking until brown and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, place on paper towel to drain. In the rendered fat, cook the garlic until golden brown.  Add half of the kale, cook tossing just until wilted.  Add the remaining kale, season with salt and pepper, cook until all the kale has wilted. Add broth, cover and simmer about 7 min. 

Meanwhile cook pasta in  boiling salted water until al dente, drain, but reserve 1 cup of pasta water.  Return the pasta to the pot, add kale, and fontina, toss to combine, adjust seasoning to taste, add the reserved pasta water, divide among plates and top with bacon.  Serve!

Wine Pairing
Because of the bitterness of the kale, I have given you a white wine and a red wine to pair with this dish. The white wine is a Chardonnay, and the red is a Pinot Noir.

  • Bargain:  $ 9.99 Foxglove Chardonnay 2006
  • Splurge:  $ 39.99 Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay 2005
  • Bargain:  $ 9.99 Castle Rock Mendocine Pinot Noir 2005
  • Splurge:  $ 45.99 WillaKenzie Terres Basse Pinot Noir 2004 

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