During our recent trip to North and South Carolina, we visited my dear childhood friend, Barbara, who lives with her husband outside of Greenville, SC. Barb is an avid and talented home cook, and we had fun trading recipes and talking about our cooking adventures.
When she learned that I am a big fan of Pat Conroy, the famous Southern novelist, she lent me her copy of “The Pat Conroy Cookbook”, which I read cover to cover on the long flights home to San Diego.
It had been Mr. Conroy’s marvelous writing that had inspired our recent trip to Charleston, a charming city, so I arrived home eager to try one of his recipes. I actually had everything on hand for this recipe so I halved its proportions and played a bit with the measurements. In my haste to get cooking, I scribbled down the recipe but forgot to note its name before I had mailed the book back to Barbara. In any case, it is the only recipe in the cookbook with “pappardelle” in its title.
If you haven’t tasted or cooked with pappardelle, it is an egg pasta that comes, fresh or dried, as very long, flat noodles that are about 1/2 an inch wide. I first tasted pappardelle during a trip to Venice, and whenever I cook with pappardelle, I’m reminded of our memorable visit to our favorite Italian city. It’s easily found in your local grocery store and cooks up in about 7 minutes.
This rich dish was a splurge for us, not something to make on a regular basis, but definitely company-worthy. I had fun making a recipe from my favorite American writer, Pat Conroy, and also paying homage to his lovely home state of South Carolina. Thanks, Barb!
TIP: I used a jar of bottled chestnuts that I had left over from the December holidays. I can’t imagine roasting and peeling fresh chestnuts!
- 1 8.8 ounce package of dried pappardelle
- ½ cup diced pancetta
- ½ cup cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
- ⅔ cup cream
- 2 fresh sage leaves, rolled and thinly sliced
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white or black pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
- fresh sage leaves and grated parmesan, optional garnishes
- Heat a large pot of water until it boils. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- Using a large skillet, cook the pancetta over medium heat, Drain cooked pancetta on paper towels, reserving the fat in the skillet.
- Add the chestnuts to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cream and sage. Cook over low heat until sauces reduces slightly.
- Add the cooked pancetta, salt and pepper.
- Drain the cooked pappardelle and add to the sauce. Stir in the parmesan and serve.