As much as I love pasta dishes with robust sauces, sometimes I crave something a little simpler. Heavy cream sauces like carbonara and alfredo are admittedly divine. And I’d have to turn my Italian card in if I didn’t enjoy a marinara or puttanesca sauce now and again. But sometimes I crave something less fussy. Something that doesn’t have to simmer for hours. Just a flash in the pan pasta dish with a few simple ingredients.
This recipe for Fusilli with Pan Fried Sage and Marcona Almonds speaks to that simplicity. Good food truly made simple. Quality ingredients like fresh sage, pancetta, Marcona almonds and good olive oil are all it takes to make a fast but memorable pasta dish.
And I think it would be better said that this dish is dressed rather than sauced as it only has a splash of olive oil and a bit of butter in the mix. The nice thing about this is that the flavors of the almonds, sage and pancetta really stand out. Covering those flavors in a heavy sauce would be a tragedy.
But what I love most about this dish are the textures. You’ve got the crunch from the almonds, the salty bite of the pancetta and the lightly crisp sage makes for an interesting combination of textures and flavors.
If you want to serve this as a main dish, you can totally do so. But this also makes a fantastic side next to any protein. Seafood, pork, chicken and even beef would be worthwhile partners. And if you have any leftovers (not likely), you are TOTALLY going to want to make this Pasta Breakfast Skillet the next morning. Trust me on this one.
- 1 pound fusilli pasta
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 4 Tbsp butter
- ½ cup Marcona almonds
- ½ lb pancetta, diced
- ⅓ cup fresh sage leaves, sliced thin
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved
- salt and pepper to taste
- hot pepper flake (if you like heat)
- Cook pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add almonds and cook just until golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove from pan, place on a paper towel and once cool, rough chop.
- Add pancetta to pan and cook until crisp. Add sage leaves and garlic. Cook for several more minutes.
- Add cooked pasta and almonds to pan and toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste. I also add some hot pepper flake at this point but it's totally optional. Place on platter and top with Parmesan cheese.