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Gennaro’s Farfalle Pasta with Asparagus, Mushrooms and Crispy Pancetta


Quick, nutritious and delicious, this pasta dish makes a substantial main course. If you’re catering for vegetarians, just omit the crispy pancetta. For speed, buy ready-trimmed green beans, asparagus tips and ready-sliced mushrooms.


Serves 4 
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Preheat the grill (broiler) to high.



240 g/8½ oz green (French) beans, trimmed
200 g/7 oz asparagus tips
400 g/14 oz farfalle pasta
120 g/4¼ oz pancetta or bacon slices
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 large shallots, finely chopped
100 g/3½ oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cook the green beans and asparagus in a saucepan of boiling water for about 5 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the farfalle pasta for 10–12 minutes, until al dente (check the instructions on your packet).

Meanwhile, place the pancetta or bacon slices under the hot grill, and cook on both sides until crispy, about 2–3 minutes per side. Set aside.

In a large frying pan (skillet) set over a medium heat, heat the olive oil, add the shallots, and sweat for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for a minute or so.

Add the cooked green beans and asparagus, some salt and pepper, to taste, a couple of tablespoons of the pasta’s hot cooking water and cook for 2–3 minutes.

Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the pan with the vegetables, turn the heat up to high and mix well to combine, adding a little of the pasta water to loosen the sauce, if necessary.

Serve garnished with the crispy pancetta, a grinding of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

For more quick and delicious recipes, check out Gennaro’s Fast Cook Italian by Gennaro Contaldo, where this recipe comes from. Photograph by Kim Lightbody.