2021 Holiday Recipe – Casarecce with Mushrooms, Arugula and Guanciale


My dear husband created this delicious pasta dish during the summer between two memorable milestones: watching the first season of Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy in the spring and  traveling to Italy with his son in the late fall. Join us in celebrating Italian cuisine with a nice Chianti, which pairs well with this dish.  

1 lb casarecce or other short spiral pasta 

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil 

¼ lb guanciale or pancetta, diced 

2 cups mixed mushrooms, sliced 

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 

¼ tsp chili pepper flakes  

5 oz arugula, roughly chopped 

1½ cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese  

1 cup grated Pecorino cheese   

2 tbs unsalted butter  

Serves 4 as a main course. 

Preparation time: 30 minutes   

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta until almost al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well and reserve 1½ cups of pasta water. 

  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the guanciale or pancetta and cook stirring with a wooden spoon until golden and the fat renders. 

  3. Add the mushrooms, garlic and pepper flakes and continue stirring until the mushrooms soften and turn golden. 

  4. Add ½ cup of the pasta water and scrape up any bits sticking to the pan bottom to create a light sauce. 

  5. Stir in the arugula in two bunches and cook until wilted. 

  6. Add half of the cheeses and the butter plus additional pasta water if needed to maintain the sauce consistency. Stir until blended.

  7. Add the cooked pasta and stir gently for one minute to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce. 

  8. Serve immediately with additional cheese on top. 

— Created by David Matthews for Connect 

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