Pappardelle with Pancetta and Chestnuts

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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!

Pappardelle with Pancetta and Chestnuts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
A rich pasta dish inspired by "The Pat Conroy Cookbook", featuring pappardelle, pancetta and 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
  1. Heat a large pot of water until it boils. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Using a large skillet, cook the pancetta over medium heat, Drain cooked pancetta on paper towels, reserving the fat in the skillet.
  3. Add the chestnuts to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cream and sage. Cook over low heat until sauces reduces slightly.
  4. Add the cooked pancetta, salt and pepper.
  5. Drain the cooked pappardelle and add to the sauce. Stir in the parmesan and serve.


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22 Responses to Pappardelle with Pancetta and Chestnuts

  1. Lynda - TasteFood January 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    Pappardelle is a favorite, but I confess that chestnuts are to me what fennel is to you. I think it’s a texture-thing. On my to-do list to overcome.

    • Liz January 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Oh, I totally get that – I must substitute mushrooms next time.

  2. Jenny (vintagesugarcube) January 30, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Looks crazy-crazy-good! Have you ever bought papperdale at Assentis in Little Italy? A must!!!

  3. Jenny (vintagesugarcube) January 30, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Ignore my poor-poor spelling *Pappardelle* OY!

    • Liz January 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

      I had to practice typing “pappardelle” over and over – and thanks for the Little Italy tip!

  4. The Wimpy Vegetarian January 30, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    Love pappardelle and have been wanting to make some to keep on hand. There’s nothing like travels to someplace far from home to inspire new recipes – thanks for sharing this gem. I love Pat Conroy too – what a wonderful writer he is. He captures the south so magnificently. Beautiful photo too!!

    • Liz January 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      Thanks, Susan – yes, I get tons f ideas when we travel – working on shrimp and grits soon…

  5. Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator January 30, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    Wow, this looks amazing. I have a jar of chestnuts in the fridge… will have to renovate this puppy! 🙂

    • Liz January 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      Can’t wait to see what you do with it –

  6. Suzanne January 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Incredible!! Looks delicious. I like chestnuts but I bet it would be amazing with mushrooms also.

    • Liz January 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      Yes, that was my suggestion to Lynda, who doesn’t care for chestnuts.

  7. Valentina January 30, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    what a beautiful dish! Pappardelle is my favorite pasta! 🙂

    • Liz January 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

      Thanks, Valentina – my favorite as well.

  8. Chris Baccus January 30, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Love the combination.

  9. Jayne January 31, 2013 at 4:30 am #

    I love this recipe! I really like chestnuts, this is on my “to make” list now for next time I see chestnuts.

    • Liz January 31, 2013 at 7:26 am #

      I’m so glad you like it – and hope you try it…

  10. Mare January 31, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Pat Conroy is one of my favorite writers. His books are all so influenced by his own life, and he has been an incredible influence on the lives of many of his own students like Sallie Ann Robinson, one of his students on Dufusie Island who wrote her own cookbook. And,he secretly paid the tuition of the first woman attending the Citadel who finally quite that institution and attended another college. His last book, South of Broad, is a great read and a valentine to Charleston. I love pappardelle and will make this recipe soon!

    • Liz January 31, 2013 at 9:48 am #

      Ditto – I reread most of his novels before our trip.

  11. Oui, Chef February 1, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    I LOVE chestnuts but hardly ever cook with them. This dish will change that!

    • Liz February 1, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

      Steve, I think I would add a little more fresh sage next time –

  12. Kim February 8, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Beautiful photo, and beautiful story, Liz! Pappardelle is on my list of things to make the next time I get a “rainy day in the kitchen” with a pasta maker. Such elegant ribbons.


  13. LiztheChef February 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    I gave up on pasta-making some time ago – admire you!

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