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Fusilli with Green Beans, Pancetta, and Parmigiano

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Serves two to three.

  • by Maria Helm Sinskey from Fine Cooking
    Issue 99

Green beans, cooked until crisp-tender, are the star of this show. If you don't have some growing in your own garden, this dish is worth a quick stop at the farmers' market. The pasta’s cooking water melts the cheese and turns it into a rich sauce that coats the beans and pulls everything together. If you can’t find pancetta, substitute bacon.

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 lb. fusilli or other twisted pasta
  • 4 oz. pancetta, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into 1/2 -inch squares (3/4 cup)
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed and peeled 
  • 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths (2 cups)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)

Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until just barely al dente, about 1 minute less than package timing. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, and drain the pasta.

While the pasta cooks, put the pancetta in a cold 10-inch skillet and set over medium-high heat. When the pancetta starts sizzling, add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until starting to brown, 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook the pancetta until golden but still chewy at the center (taste a piece if you’re not sure), an additional  2 to 3 minutes. If the pancetta has rendered a lot of its fat, spoon off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pan.

Add the beans to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until they’re crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the garlic and season the beans with salt and pepper. With the pan still over medium heat, add the pasta, 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and the butter. Toss to combine. Add another 1/4 cup pasta water and 3/4 cup of the Parmigiano. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, add a little more pasta water to loosen the sauce.

Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Grind black pepper over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Serving Suggestions

So much better than an average green salad, start this meal off with Grilled Butter Lettuce with Buttermilk-Chive Dressing.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 540; Fat (g): 23; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): 10; Protein (g): 20; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): 62; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): 1270; Cholesterol (mg): 50; Fiber (g): 6;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Great recipe! Used 1/2 the butter and broccoli instead of beans (because that is what we had). Went great with Caesar salad.

i put the recipe in my fav box, so i must like it.very flavorful, i substituted speck for the pancetta, speck is the smoked pancetta, very quick and very flavorful...

Very good. I put a lid on the beans because my husband does not like crisp green beans. I thought it had a tad bit too much pancetta but my husband thought it was perfect as is. The colors were nice- white pasta, green beans, red pancetta, black pepper. Made it with the suggested grilled butter lettuce, which we did not think was as good.

A quick and tasty pasta dish and great way to use green beans. I really enjoyed it and will make it again. However, the dish was not nearly as good the next day. It was kind of oily, so eat it while it's fresh!

Excellent! Made this for visiting family as a side dish. It was a big hit especially with my husband. Easy and came together quickly.

This was delicious and easy! I doubled the recipe and used bacon because that's what I had on hand. I'm sure pancetta would be delicious too. The green beans are so crisp and fresh. My 4 year-old had two helpings!

Easy, very good. Can use either bacon or pancetta.

Although the pancetta in a package can be difficult to separate, the recipe is overall pretty easy and makes great leftovers.

This recipe is a unanimous family favorite! We also added some red chile flakes to spice it up a bit in the cold weather.

Excellent!!!

This was excellent!! My whole family loved it.

This was excellent!! My whole family loved it.

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