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Jenise

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IOTM/RCP: Mario Batali's Fettucine with parsnips and pancetta

by Jenise » Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:00 pm

I haven't made this Babbo recipe, but I liked the sound of it quite a bit for it takes the parsnip out of the side dish column and plops it smack in the middle of the entree. Should be delicious seasoned with the pancetta, though I'd probably double the quantity of the pancetta for even more flavor.

******

1/4 lb sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 lb parsnips, peeled, quartered lengthwise, cored, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
8 oz dried egg fettuccine or taglierini
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Accompaniment: grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Cook pancetta in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer pancetta with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Reduce heat to moderate, then add butter to fat remaining in skillet and, when foam subsides, cook parsnips, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve 2 cups pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta.

Add pasta and 1 1/2 cups reserved cooking water to parsnips. Stir in pancetta and parsley and toss over moderately high heat 1 minute, adding more pasta-cooking water if necessary for sauce to lightly coat pasta. Season with salt and pepper.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Dale Williams

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Re: IOTM/RCP: Mario Batali's Fettucine with parsnips and pancetta

by Dale Williams » Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:05 pm

thanks for posting. I printed for Betsy, and she made tonight. Doubling the pancetta was a definite plus, at least from my carnivorous viewpoint. Very different, very good. Paired with a Drouhin CdBeaune Villages.
Question- Betsy wondered if you really felt coring parsnips was neccessary- at least when you have smaller ones.
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Re: IOTM/RCP: Mario Batali's Fettucine with parsnips and pancetta

by Jenise » Sat Nov 04, 2006 12:13 pm

Dale, thanks for reporting. I made the dish last night, too, and we LOVED it. I used regular bacon, about 1/4 lb since it was very lean. It could easily have stood more, but in terms of calorie control I slutted out by not draining the bacon grease and using that WITH the butter the recipe calls for to saute the parsnips.

Re coring, that was in Mario's recipe but no, I would not and did not core the ones I used. And mine were larger (had hubby stop for them on the way home, and I got what I deserved for not specifying small size until he handed me the bag and proudly proclaimed, "I got the biggest ones they had!") as they were fresh and not woody in the slightest. I further tested that in the pan with the toughest part of the core at the bulb end--did it cook up differently--harder, softer, stringier? And the answer's no--the core pieces were undetectable. So that's the answer I would give Betsy--less fresh and perhaps different varieties of parsnip might have tougher cores, but as long as the parsnips are very fresh even longer ones are usable in their entirety.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Robin Garr

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Re: IOTM/RCP: Mario Batali's Fettucine with parsnips and pancetta

by Robin Garr » Mon Nov 06, 2006 7:37 pm

Jenise wrote:Dale, thanks for reporting. I made the dish last night, too, and we LOVED it.
\

I'm thinking about making it tonight, if I can talk the long-suffering Mary into it.

One question, though - did you both really use 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water at the end? It looks to me as if that would turn it into soup, and a thin soup at that.
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Re: IOTM/RCP: Mario Batali's Fettucine with parsnips and pancetta

by Jenise » Mon Nov 06, 2006 8:18 pm

Robin, GLAD YOU ASKED. I so meant to mention that--NO, I did not. I added about half a cup, if that. The purpose is only to make it a little saucey in the true Italian tradition, nothing more.
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Re: IOTM/RCP: Mario Batali's Fettucine with parsnips and pancetta

by Robin Garr » Mon Nov 06, 2006 8:21 pm

Jenise wrote:Robin, GLAD YOU ASKED. I so meant to mention that--NO, I did not. I added about half a cup, if that. The purpose is only to make it a little saucey in the true Italian tradition, nothing more.


I figured ... it just didn't look right. I'll bet Dale did the same. And I'm going for it tonight, Mary said "fine"! :)
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Re: IOTM/RCP: Mario Batali's Fettucine with parsnips and pancetta

by Robin Garr » Tue Nov 07, 2006 5:10 pm

Jenise wrote:this Babbo recipe


I did make it yesterday, substituting a blend of yellow and green linguine because, dammit, I was short of fettuccine and didn't know it. I halved the recipe but otherwise followed it precisely (including real pancetta, not American bacon), and it was very fine. Even Mary liked it! The pasta water, as it turned out, came closer to Mario's recipe than I would have expected ... I stirred it in a little at a time so I wouldn't overdo, but about the time it made a nice sauce, I had used about 2/3 cup, pretty close to the 3/4 cup that would have been exactly half the original proportions.

This one's a keeper!
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Re: IOTM/RCP: Mario Batali's Fettucine with parsnips and pancetta

by Jenise » Tue Nov 07, 2006 5:57 pm

Robin, glad you liked it. And I'm even more glad that Mary liked it! Re the sauce, though, I had a selfish reason for not going too saucy: you see, I was sauteeing those parsnips and the phone rang and I was distracted such that they got more fried/golden than Mario anticipated. The result was a gift from heaven, and Bob and I ate the entire delicately crunchy batch right there in front of the stove. So I had to cut up and saute a second parsnip for the dish. And then the phone rang again and batch #2 got away from me, too. So I had an ulterior motive as I was more interested in preserving the crispy texture of those than I was setting up the correct sauce, but I remain very surprised that you were able to use that much.
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Re: IOTM/RCP: Mario Batali's Fettucine with parsnips and pancetta

by Robin Garr » Tue Nov 07, 2006 6:45 pm

Jenise wrote:I remain very surprised that you were able to use that much.


I was too, but it seemed that the hot, starchy pasta water blended with some of the broken-up bits of browned parsnip in the bottom of the pan to create an Alpo-like effect, only much better. :oops:
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Re: IOTM/RCP: Mario Batali's Fettucine with parsnips and pancetta

by Jenise » Tue Nov 07, 2006 7:02 pm

Don't blush!

Hey, speaking of crispy hot parsnips, I'll bet these would be amazing tempura fried.
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Re: IOTM/RCP: Mario Batali's Fettucine with parsnips and pancetta

by Robin Garr » Tue Nov 07, 2006 7:52 pm

Jenise wrote:I'll bet these would be amazing tempura fried.


Bet they would! Or grate them and make pancakes - maybe half potato and half parsnip? Or maybe just full-bore parsnip ... with some onion and fresh ginger grated in!
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Re: IOTM/RCP: Mario Batali's Fettucine with parsnips and pancetta

by Jenise » Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:09 pm

Lots of parsnip pancake recipes running around doing it both ways, and my experience with this recipe tells me they need no addition to achieve lovely pan-fried crispness. But I'm liking the potato addition--I think if it's less sweet it will seem less monochromatic, and the addition of horseradish or chives or something will stand out more.

But, tempera. YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.
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Re: IOTM/RCP: Mario Batali's Fettucine with parsnips and pancetta

by Dale Williams » Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:44 pm

OK, I'll be contrary. I asked just now. Betsy added the suggested 1.5 cups (though not the extra .5) and said it was soaked right up. One factor might be she was doing it in a large castiron skillet. I have found the heat retention of cast iron makes it reduce things quicker than if I'm using a lighter pan. But she did use the cup and a half, and it was definitely not soupy.

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