Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Pancetta, Chestnuts and Vin Santo

This Tuscan-inspired dish is a favorite on the winter menu at Clarklewis. Morgan Brownlow likes how the recipe showcases the flavors of every ingredient in the finished dish—the wheaty pasta, the earthy chestnuts, the sweet dessert wine vin santo, the cracked pepper, the rich pancetta. If you can't find vin santo, substitute a medium-dry sherry.

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  • Servings: 6

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  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces lean pancetta, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 1/2 cup vin santo
  • 20 vacuum-packed roasted chestnuts (from a 14-ounce jar), chopped
  • 3/4 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

How to make this recipe

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large, deep skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the pancetta and cook over moderately low heat until most of the fat has been rendered, about 12 minutes. Increase the heat to moderate and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the shallots and sage and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the vin santo and simmer over moderate heat for 4 minutes, then stir in the chopped chestnuts and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.

  2. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the spaghetti and the reserved cooking water to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and toss over low heat. Serve at once.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 1 earlier in the day and refrigerated. Let return to room temperature before proceeding.

Suggested Pairing

This earthy pasta dish brings Tuscany to mind because vin santo, one of Tuscany's great sweet wines, is a key ingredient here. For an accompaniment, try a dry, Sangiovese-based Tuscan red.

Contributed By Published January 2006

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