Fettuccini with lardons and chestnuts...

I came across this great little recipe by Angela Hartnett, in the Guardian...  Angela comes form an Italian family, and often talks about the dishes she learnt at her Nonna's side...  As well as running Murano's, she is working with Luke Holder, Head Chef at Limewood Hotel on a new venture showcasing New Forest produce.

I particuarly liked the sound of the chestnuts in this, and it seemed a good way to use up any you might have lurking after Christmas...  This makes a fantastic lunch dish.

375g dried fettuccine
50ml olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
6 rashers of back bacon, roughly chopped (I used pancetta, sliced into lardons)
1 small leek, washed and finely sliced
100g ricotta
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
6 cooked chestnuts, sliced

Season a pan of water and bring it to the boil. Add the pasta and cook as instructed on the packet – usually for about seven minutes – until it is al dente.

Add the oil, garlic and bacon to another large pan and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the sliced leek and cook for about five minutes, until soft.

When the pasta is ready, drain well and toss it in with the leek and bacon. Add the ricotta and flat-leaf parsley and mix through. Check the seasoning to taste and finish with the sliced chestnuts.

Serve immediately.


Do make sure you use dried pasta - the surface texture is much rougher than fresh egg pasta, and the sauce clings to it much better.

Look at your ricotta before you use it - like a dolt I didn't mix mine until smooth with a little of the starchy pasta water, which would have made the sauce more unctuous.  Nor did I spoon it into little mouthfuls within the pasta... Instead, I stirred it in, straight from the fridge.  Don't do that - though it doesn't alter the flavour, it does make the sauce very slightly grainy... But hey - now I've warned you...

If you want to pimp your pasta (for dinner perhaps), you could also sauté a chicken breast to serve on top... Yes, I had too!  Hubby had been in the gym and was suspiciously eyeing the low meat quotient.  I think there's more than enough flavour from the pancetta though to forgo it, and we could all do with eating less meat....

The 'pimped' fettuccini, with sautéd chicken breast
Fettuccini, with lardons and chestnuts
Do use dry fettuccini, you can see the rougher surface of the dried variety

You can find more delicious recipes by Angela in her books >