Black Pepper Fettuccine with Parsnips and Pancetta

This is a recipe from the Babbo cookbook, which I absolutely love, by Mario Batali. The combination of pancetta and parsnips is just about perfect. I love to make homemade pasta and this black pepper fettuccine has a lot of zip to it. You can add as little or as much pepper as you like. If it's freshly ground, of course, it's going to be zippier. My farmer's market closed up shop this week and these were the last parsnips of the year. There were a few that were really bizarre looking, like something out of Lord of the Rings. That's part of the charm of buying local organic vegetables!

Black Pepper Fettuccine with Parsnips and Pancetta

for a printable recipe, click here

for dough*:
2 cups all purpose unbleached flour or Italian 00 flour
1.5 cups semolina flour
2 whole eggs plus 3 more egg yolks
1 or 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

for sauce:
1/4 pound pancetta
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound parsnips, peeled, halved and cut into 1/4 inch half moons
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for serving

Combine the flours on the counter and make a well in the center. Break the eggs in this well, add the pepper and, with a fork, beat the eggs and then start incorporating some of the flour. Continue this until the dough is firm and not very sticky. You may not use quite all of the flour. Bring the dough into a ball and knead until the dough is soft. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 20 minutes. (You may also make this dough and knead it in your stand mixer, with the dough hook. Semolina flour is a little tougher to knead than regular flour).

After the dough has rested, roll the dough into sheets with your pasta rollers and then use the fettuccine attachment to cut into strips. I usually roll the dough to setting #6. Lay the fettuccine on a lightly flour towel while you make the sauce.

Bring a pot of well salted water to the boil.

In a large saute pan, cook the pancetta until it is browned and the fat has been rendered, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside. Add the butter and olive oil and parsnips and saute over high heat without shaking the pan too much until they are golden brown about 5 -6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the parsley and cook 1 minute longer.

Cook the fettuccine in the boiling water for about 2 minutes. Take the pasta out with tongs and place directly into the saute pan with the sauce. Toss and add some of the pasta water to keep the sauce from getting too tight. Serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

adapted from the Babbo cookbook, by Mario Batali

*I make my dough with a combination of semolina and regular flour, which I think makes a nicer taste and texture. If you only have regular flour, just use that. If you would like to buy semolina flour, here is a resource.
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  1. This looks wonderful. I made your pasta with breadcrumbs last night, and it was heaven!

    I would enjoy a whole post on your favorite Italian cookbooks.

  2. ok ok
    i'm making this one too


    i just ordered that babbo book because somehow i didn't have it. but i did use molte italiano tonight.

    you cost me a fortune...

  3. Anonymous10/28/2008

    I could eat the whole bowl ;)

  4. All your pasta making lately is giving me huge cravings! I need to spend a day making pasta! So comforting and theraputic! I would enjoy every bite on that plate!

  5. Fetticcine is one of my favourites. I've never tried it with turnip before but I will!

  6. I just ordered that cookbook today! I did it because of Claudia and Krysta (evil chef mom) and now I have another dish to look forward to from your recommendation.

    I imagine it would be better to use semolina flour, as it is the traditional thing, yes?. When I do get my pasta rollers, I'll hunt some down.

  7. I love pasnips but don't know why I don't make them enough. But in pasta, yay that is a wonderful combination!

    I just made 2 Mario recipes this week.
    He is one of my favorites.

  9. Looks great and lots of info thanks, I will have to try it! Our members would love this site!



  10. My wife is using your recipe as we speak while I watch TV. Smells good so it is looking good. Great blog! More pasta recipes please!!!!

    Accommodation in Rome

  11. I don't have a pasta roller attachment yet for my kitchenaid so I cheated and bought fresh fettuccine from the deli section of my supermarket and ground lots of fresh pepper into the dish. This was so delicious! It reminds me of bacon and homefries for breakfast. The dish was a little dry even with some of the water from the pasta so I added a couple more tablespoons of olive oil, but my husband and I loved it anyway. Very tasty and super comforting on a cold winter's night. Thanks!

  12. Jonathan T.12/16/2008

    I made a couple modifications to this recipe;

    1. I added the juice of one fresh lemon once the pasta was added to the sauce. I feel that Parsnips and pasta together is quite hearty and the acid from the lemon lightens up the flavors and also cuts the saltiness of the pancetta.

    2. I deglazed the pan with some pinot noir after the pancetta browned and the fat was rendered. I wanted the parsnips to take on a more golden brown appearance and soak up as much flavors from the pan as possible.

    3. I added 2 pinches of Herbs d'Provence to the parsnips as they were cooking.

    and lastly I added a cup and a half of cream (half-and-half) to the sauce for a more luxurious flair.

  13. ok - in honor of your on year blogoversary, i'm making this one. i eyed it in the babbo cookbook and thought it'd be perfect.

    btw - i can't leave a comment for you on your latest post - something is up....