Pasta alla Brontese (Creamy Fettuccine With Pancetta and Pistachios)
This easy weeknight pasta honors the town of Bronte, Sicily, renowned for its green pistachios harvested from the volcanic soil of Mount Etna. They’re famous for their flavor and bright green color. The simple pan sauce has only a few ingredients: ground pistachios, grated cheese, heavy cream, a splash of wine and pancetta. Perfect for a weeknight but interesting enough for a dinner party, this dish is as rich and comforting as fettuccine alfredo, with additional texture and depth of flavor from the crispy pancetta bits and nutty pistachio crumble.
- Serves: 4 persons
- Kosher salt
- 1pound fettuccine
- ½cup toasted, salted pistachios (see Tip)
- ½cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish
- 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4ounces pancetta or prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- ½cup minced yellow onion
- ½cup white wine
- 1 ½cups heavy cream
Step 1Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
Step 2While the pasta cooks, make the sauce: Place the pistachios and 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano in a small food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. (Be careful not to grind into a paste.)
Step 3Add the olive oil to a large, deep skillet and heat over medium. Add the diced pancetta, reduce the heat to low and allow the pancetta to render until crisp, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta from the skillet and reserve.
Step 4Add the onion to the remaining fat in the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 3 minutes, being careful not to let it brown. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium and cook until it has almost evaporated, about 4 minutes.
Step 5Reduce heat to low and add the reserved pancetta and most of the pistachio mixture, reserving 1/4 cup for garnish. Pour in the heavy cream and stir to combine.
Step 6Using tongs, transfer the cooked pasta to the skillet, mixing to incorporate with the sauce.
Step 7Transfer to a large serving platter or shallow dish and garnish with the reserved pistachio mixture, plus additional grated cheese.