Tagliatelle with fava beans, peas, guanciale, and pecorino means spring is officially here.
TAGLIATELLE WITH FAVA BEANS
4 oz shucked and blanched english peas
3 oz shucked and blanched and peeled fava beans
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 T sage, julienned
4 oz guanciale, diced
4- 4oz portions Tagliatelle
In a saucepan, cook the guanciale on med high heat in oil. Slowly caramelize and brown. Add the English peas, favas, garlic and slowly saute. Add the sage and crushed red pepper. Saute for another 2 minutes.While cooking, boil salted water for pasta. Add tagliatelle to pasta water. Add 2 cups pasta water to the guanciale mixture. 2 T of butter, 1 cup grated pecorino, salt and pepper. Drain pasta, and add to this mixture. Finish with more pecorino, EVOO and black pepper.
In this deceptively simple side, tender asparagus spears are wrapped in thin, crispy slices of guanciale, a bacon-like cut of cured pork cheek. The clean flavor of roasted young asparagus contrasts beautifully with the salty-savory flavor of our traditional Umbrian guanciale.
Asparagus Spears with Guanciale
Guanciale, thinly sliced
-Clean and peel asparagus
-Parboil for 2-4 minutes until just softened
-Wrap spears with a thin slice of guanciale
-Roast a 425 degrees for 10 minutes, until pork is slightly crisp
This famous Roman dish has many stories about its birth and name, ranging from being named after the charcoal burners called “carbonaro” to being born from the bacon and eggs left over by the American troops of WWII. While origins of this famous and simple dish are very blurred, one thing is for sure: it is delicious, especially when it has the twist of Chef Simone Proietti Pesci. Chef Simone enjoys his carbonara with pasta alla chitarra, a staple pasta of central Italy.
BACON! Okay, now that I have your attention let’s have a little chat, because bacon is a bit more complicated than you thought. One of the few cured meats that is meant to be cooked, bacon is most famous in the United States for its place on the breakfast plate. To get there, bacon goes through a multistep process that can involve curing, smoking, and pan frying (ah, the sizzling). This bacon is usually belly, and is almost always smoked. In fact, most of the unique flavors between different American bacons come from the wood used in the smoking process. The tradition of bacon for breakfast comes from the British Isles, where the most common kind of “rashers” are cut from the loin (think more like Canadian bacon). Leaner than the belly, this is a bacon that is cut a bit thicker than in the American tradition, and is chewy and meaty–not crispy. Either way, it’s tasty.
Here at Via Umbria, however, we also draw from the Italian bacon traditions: pancetta. Pancetta is the belly of the pig, cured into bacon just like here. The most crucial difference from the American bacon, however, is that it isn’t smoked and is sometimes rolled. In fact, most of the Italian pancetta you can find stateside is the rolled variety. Not so at Via Umbria; we primarily carry a “slab” of pancetta, that on a quick glance looks almost exactly like your typical breakfast bacon. This is not because the slab is different in any way from the rolled, just that better quality producers are mostly electing not to roll their pancettas. The use of the bacon is different too. Rather than slicing thickly and panfrying, you slice thin and eat raw. Or you dice and use as the base of an excellent sauce.
Bacon doesn’t stop there! In Umbria, and other areas of central Italy, you wouldn’t use pancetta. Instead, the choice is guanciale. Guanciale translates literally as cheek, and is produced in a fashion similar to pancetta, but using the jowl of the pig rather than the belly. It is usually fattier, and thus richer in flavor. I find that it is a superb addition to any charcuterie plate, the fat deliciously contrasts the meatiness of a prosciutto and the seasoned flavor of a salami. Also excellent for cooking, guanciale is the only real base of the carbonara and the amtriciana. American producers are catching on and making their own, sometimes putting their own American spin on it! You may have seen these on menus as “face bacon.” We carry one called jowciale, which is hickory smoked in Virginia and is fantastic when used to cook greens or pan-fried and put on a BLT or a burger.
However you like your bacon, we’re ready to meet your needs! Come have a chat with me at the butcher counter and we’ll make sure to have one that has you salivating.