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.
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.
So much better than an average green salad, start this meal off with Grilled Butter Lettuce with Buttermilk-Chive Dressing.
nutrition information (per serving):
sat fat g
Photo: Scott Phillips