I want to begin by letting you know this dish has special meaning to me – not just because it’s scrumptious either. Rob is gearing up to move to Alicante, Spain in a few weeks for a fun, new job and this is the last dish I cooked in his cute, Noe Valley apartment. I’ve never been attached to an apartment before, until this one, probably because I spent last summer here with Rob and we have some fond memories here over the past 2 years! That brings me to the name. Meet, Pasta Noe.
This might be one of my favorite creations, ever. I began by searching for some online fennel inspiration and came across a few recipes with pancetta… sweet fennel + salty pork? Yes. Then my mind wandered… sweet fennel + salty pork + creamy Greek Yogurt Alfredo + whole wheat linguine? Yes, please!
I began by sautéing the garlic and pancetta in a large pan with 1 T of butter.
Once slightly browned, I tossed in 2 chopped fennel bulbs, some of the fronds, red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds.
I gave it a good stir and covered the pan. Everything cook for 15 minutes until the fennel bulbs were tender.
While that was cooking, I tossed a bag of whole wheat linguine into salted, boiling water, set the timer for 10 minutes and started on the Alfredo Sauce. With all of the Greek Yogurt hype lately, I thought the stuff would make a lovely Alfredo sauce…
and it did. Here’s how I made it. I started off by combining some corn starch and nutmeg in a bowl, to which I whisked in some chicken stock and transferred everything into a saucepan. I whisked everything constantly over medium heat until it thickened slightly. That’s when I added a whole lot of shredded parmesan cheese, which just happens to be my favorite cheese. Ever.
I reduced the heat to low. After the parm had melted, in went 1 small container of Greek Yogurt, which I also blended in with a whisk.
Once the pasta was just barely al dente, I drained, rinsed, and transferred it into the large sauté pan with the fennel and pancetta. I heated the fennel, pancetta and pasta over medium heat for a few minutes before pouring on the hot, Alfredo sauce. I added more fronds and mixed it with a large, wooden spoon until everything was well combined.
When I plated the dish, I topped it off with a little more shaved parmesan and a fennel frond-garnish Let’s take one more look at this.
Well, that just made me want to go back for seconds. I never knew fennel was so good. How did I get to be in my late 20’s and never have cooked with it before?
- 1 C finely shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 C chicken broth
- 2 large fennel bulbs with fronds (bulbs chopped into 1/4 inch wedges, fronds removed from stalk)
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 7 oz. 5% Greek yogurt
- 6 oz. pancetta, cut into thin strips
- 2 T unsalted butter, divided
- 2 T corn starch
- 3 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Sauté the garlic and pancetta in a large pan with 1 T of butter.
Once slightly browned, toss in the 2 chopped fennel bulbs, some of the fronds, red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds. Cover the pan and let everything cook for 15 minutes until the fennel is tender.
Meanwhile, cook the whole wheat linguini until it is dente (usually the minimum number of minutes indicated on the package). Drain and rinse the pasta when cooked. Set aside.
Next, start the cream sauce. In a medium sauce pan, combine the corn starch and nutmeg. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock until well combined. Place the sauce pan on the stove on medium heat and whisk everything constantly until slightly thickened. Reduce heat to low and add the grated parmesan cheese and Greek yogurt, stirring until melted.
Add the pasta to the sautéed fennel and pancetta mixture and heat for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, stirring every minute or so. Once warmed throughout, pour your hot Alfredo sauce over everything and add remaining fronds. Stir well. Serve immediately and garnish with additional fronds and grated parmesan cheese.
I’m happy to have a new favorite dish and one great, last memory in this apartment – Pasta Noe.