Asparagus Roasted With Pancetta
Fancy Flavor That's Simple to Cook
- Servings: 4 as either a starter or a side vegetable.
Spears of asparagus are peeled and wrapped in slices of pancetta which is an unsmoked Italian bacon. As the asparagus becomes tender, the bacon becomes crisp, forming a little package around the green spears.
This recipe can be made ahead of dinner and served at room temperature either as a starter -- some slices of tomatoes would be a perfect addition -- or else as a side to a main course of meat, fish or poultry.
This recipe works better with thicker stalks of asparagus. If all you can find are the very thin ones, just don't peel them and use 3 to 4 spears in each package.
- About 16 stalks of asparagus spears that are about 1/2-inch in thickness; if your asparagus is very thin, buy more so that there are at least 4 stalks per serving.
- 4 oz. of sliced pancetta; you'll need 8 thin slices -- not paper thin but thin enough to wrap around the asparagus without breaking (about 1/8-inch thick)
- Freshly ground pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over the prepared asparagus
- Preheat the oven to 375º F.
- Trim the asparagus of any tough, woody ends with a knife so that all the asparagus stalks are about the same length.
- Wash carefully to make sure any sand in the tips has rinsed out. Dry completely with paper towels.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the thicker stalks. If using very thin asparagus, do not peel as they'll be prone to breaking.
- Take 2 thicker or 4 very thin asparagus stalks and hold them together in a bundle, wrapping a piece of pancetta around them, as if to hold them together. Place each "package" on a rimmed sheet pan with the seam side down.
- Prepare all the asparagus stalks and line them up on the sheet pan. Sprinkle a little salt, freshly ground pepper, and olive oil on the tips and stalks.
- Cook for about 18 to 20 minutes, until the pancetta is crispy and the stalks are tender.
- Serve either immediately or at room temperature.