Penne with Pancetta, Spinach, and Buttery Crumb Topping
That’s quite a mouthful, but your mouth will be fully thanking you as you bite into this lovely textured pasta dish! It’s sophisticated enough to impress your friends and tasty enough that even kids will enjoy it. And if you have picky non veggie eating kids who just want to eat mac and cheese, this dish stealthily contains 6 cups of spinach. With the taste of the luscious creamy cheese sauce coupled with the crispy salty pancetta they won’t see it coming. You should definitely give this a try, this recipe is one that is in our binder of staple recipes that gets prepared often throughout the year. It’s quick, it’s healthy, it’s tasty, of course it has my EJlicious seal of approval. Thank you so much for reading I hope you enjoy this dish, let me know if you try and your thoughts, love to hear back. Have a great week!
- 8 ounces French bread
- Cooking spray
- 3/4 cup (3 ounces) chopped pancetta
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 ounces)
- 3 3/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 6 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 cups hot cooked penne (about 1 pound uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 425°.
Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 4 cups; set aside.
Heat a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add pancetta, onion, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a small bowl; gradually add 3/4 cup milk, stirring until smooth. Add flour mixture, remaining 3 cups milk, and half-and-half to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add spinach; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, salt, and pepper, stirring until cheese melts.
Place pasta in a large bowl. Add sauce mixture to pasta; toss well. Spoon mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine breadcrumbs and butter; toss well. Sprinkle over pasta mixture.
Bake at 425° for 6 minutes or until crumbs are lightly browned.
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light.