Watercress, Pancetta & Goat Cheese Spaghetti
If you are reading the blog on your computer, you might notice that it has a brand new look. Nothing drastic but I wanted this page to reflect more of how I currently saw things in my head. Once again, I got in touch with Ana at Blog Milk to install a new theme for me and she did a wonderful job tweaking it to my specs. I love Blog Milk! Not going to lie. Affordable templates, small installation fee if you don’t want to bother with it and great communication. Ana…thank you for keeping on creating!
Creating. It’s always something I keep in mind even for the most mundane everyday tasks. Like cooking dinner. I am fortunate enough to have a husband who enjoys everything I cook, whatever cuisine, whatever season. My mother in law is a traditional southern cook but she has surprised me more than once in the last month by having seconds of lunch salads and soups I wasn’t sure she’d go for.
But heck…sometimes I am not that inspired comes dinner time. You would think that with the number of recipes I shoot for a living that would never have a problem picking one to make for dinner, wouldn’t you? Well, it’s like having "chefs disease"…you graze but rarely cook a meal for yourself. I see so many meals throughout the week that my brain kind of shuts down from time to time, a bit overwhelmed by the choices.
That’s when the tried and true dishes and their multitude of variations come into play and make me look like I have awesome creating superpowers. I am all about superpowers. Mine is to usually make food disappear off my plate 🙂 What’s yours?
One of those dishes is a simple pasta from Cooking Light with plenty of pancetta, lots of garlic, goat cheese and a big handful of watercress. It is actually a blank canvas to let your inspiration run wild. Pancetta is sometimes replaced with proscuitto, garlic gives way to shallots, burrata or feta sometimes eclipse the goat cheese and watercress disappears in favor of sorrel or arugula. I might thrown in some leftover smoked salmon, some fresh shrimp with a bit of chilies. Leftover roasted chicken has also been known to make an appearance from time to time. Spaghetti might give way to orecchiette or fettuccine.
Watercress, Pancetta & Goat Cheese Spaghetti (adapted from Cooking Light):
10 ounce dried or fresh spaghetti (gluten free or regular)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz pancetta, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup (4oz) ounces soft goat cheese, divided
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
4-5 cups trimmed watercress
salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander over a large bowl so you can reserve about 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add pancetta and sauté until crisp. Drain on a paper towel. Add red pepper to the pan, cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add reserved cooking liquid to pan and bring to a boil. Add 3 ounces goat cheese and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in grated lemon zest, season with salt and pepper. Add pasta and toss gently to coat. Add watercress and pancetta and toss to mix it with the pasta. Serve immediately and sprinkle the remaining goat cheese over pasta.