Linguine with pancetta-mushroom cream sauce; Romano beans – 21 January 2018

This is a dish from the Contra Costa times [pretty sure] on Wednesday the 24th of July, 1996! I can’t find the article on the web, which I guess, given the date, is not surprising. The dish won the top award for a student chef from L.A. named Jeana Lee, at the “seventh annual Pairing of Wine, Food, Talent & Technique” contest in Livermore.

I have rewritten the recipe for two of us, though the original would serve 4, using 8 oz dried linguine. My original notes reduced this to 6 oz, which I used this time, but I think it should be more like 4 to 5 oz for us, relative to the sauce I made – and this would be in keeping with Ms. Lee’s original proportions. My recipe, changed to my format, with original values in [ ]s.


Cut 1 thickly-cut round of pancetta into 1/4″ dice. Keep in the fridge till used. [3 Tbsp]
Slice 3 crimini mushrooms – about 1/4 cup [1/2 cup]
Finely grate 1 tsp Parmaggiano [2 tsp]
Chop 1 tsp fresh parsley [2 tsp]
Mince a teensy clove of garlic [pinch]
Clean one pesticide-free or organic lemon for zesting [1/2 tsp lemon zest]


Boil 4 – 5 oz [8 oz] dried linguine in salted water for about 8 minutes, till al dente.


Saute pancetta over medium heat in 1/2 Tbsp olive oil [1 Tbsp] till crispy and brown.

Remove pancetta, reserving oil in the skillet, and saute mushrooms in oil till golden and dry. [I poured off a bit of fat at this point – not sure I should have.]

[The original ingredients list has “Salt to taste” after the mushrooms, but omits mention of salt in the instructions. I’m guessing it would not hurt to salt the cooking mushrooms, but I didn’t this time.]

Add back the pancetta and pour in 1/4 cup Chardonnay [1/2 cup] [Didn’t use dinner wine, but a dry rose we had handy. Vermouth might work ok.].

Cook till wine is reduced by half, then add 1/4 cup heavy cream [1/2 cup]; bring to a boil and stir in the cheese.

Remove from heat and toss in the parsley and garlic. Toss with the cooked pasta, serve in heated bowls, and garnish by zesting lemon directly over the pasta. [Original says garnish with 1/2 tsp lemon zest. Hard to sprinkle! Just turn the zester so the lemon is on top and grate directly onto the pasta.]

So, delicious meal. I think you could up the parsley a bit and certainly the lemon.

I also cleaned and cut up the rest of the Romano beans and boiled 3 minutes. D took them over while I did the endgame on the pasta, and tossed them in melted butter, salt, and pepper.

I told D this wanted a chardonnay, and he could pick a CalStar, Toasted Head, or McIlroy, and he, unsurprisingly, chose CalStar. This was a 2013 “Sonmoa Coast, Sonoma County” bottle, which was great with the meal.

Later, we had the last of the truffles – dark chocolate this time – and Beeson tempranillo dessert wine from Harry & David, gift of P & T. A very nice pairing, and a lovely and thoughtful gift.








We had a small amount – perhaps 1/2 cup? – of fresh, shelled cranberry beans in the fridge from the 13th, when we made the Hirigoyen dish with the beans cooked in piperade. Remarkably, we also had piperade that was still fine. Hm. I’ll bet I made more since then… anyway, when we got home from walking up “our” hill, D started the beans cooking, pretty sure just in water and salt, and I added two mammoth cloves of garlic, just peeled, not otherwise prepped, then wen tout a lifted a weight or three. The beans cooked a half hour or so; D, at my request, mashed some of them for the bruschetta, and left the others whole. He toasted up one large (center) slice of the frozen Acme Upstairs Bread, split in two, drizzled oil on top, and covered with beans. I microwaved all the piperade and served it out. It was a great match (of course), and mostly I think both of us made bites with both bruschetta and piperade in them. I tasted the beans by themselves, too, of course, b/c they are delicious!


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