Penne con Cime di Piselli, Pollo e Pancetta

(Penne Pasta with Pea Shoots, Chicken and Pancetta)


1 Lb. Pea shoots - freshly picked. [See below]
4 Med. Chicken thighs
3 Cloves Garlic - sliced thinly
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
1/8 Cup Sage leaves - fresh and sliced thinly
1/4 Lb. Pancetta - chopped into small pieces
1/4 Cup Onion-Red & Chopped into small dice
1/2 Cup Chicken or Vegetable broth
Q.B.     Salt and pepper
1/2 Lb. Penne or other short pasta
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese - freshly grated


This recipe has been developed by the owners of The Artisan. To translate "Pea Shoots" accurately,  I asked a very close friend in Siena, Italy for the translation. He did that, and sent an ancient recipe for a pea shoot pasta as well.  While meatless, it is similar to ours. We had not seen the recipe, so were once again reminded that there is indeed nothing new under the sun!  If you are interested in trying that recipe, here it is, courtesy of Marco P. [Penne con Cime di Piselli Selvatici]. In either recipe, you may substitute other greens if you cannot find pea shoots. Young Swiss chard is a good option as is rapini.


Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Rinse the pea shoots. Put up a pot large enough to hold all of the peas shoots. Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the pot, and bring the water to a boil.  Add the peas shoots and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes or until just tender.  Remove from the water and place in a colander to drain. When cooled squeeze as much water from the shoots as possible. Place on a cutting board, and cut into  pieces.

Bone the chicken thighs if they have not been boned at the store.  Place in a bowl with half of the 1/4 cup of olive oil, add the garlic, the salt and pepper,  and the sage.  Mix well and bake for 20 minutes, turning once about half way through. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool. When the thighs can be handled, chop them into pieces about 12 inch in size.

Put the remaining olive oil into a large sauté pan. Add the peas shoots, the chicken, the pancetta, and the onion.   Sauté the mixture over medium high heat for about 5 minutes turning every few minutes or so.  Add the broth, and lower the heat.  Cool over medium heat for 20 minutes, being sure not to allow the liquid to completely evaporate. The mix should thicken but not become dry, as the liquid serves as the sauce for the pasta.

Put a pot of water to boil for the pasta.  Boil the pasta until al dente.  If necessary, add a ladleful of the pasta water to the sauce just prior to removing the pasta from the water. Drain the pasta when it is al dente.  Add the pasta to the peas shoot and chicken mixture. Turn up the heat, and stir to totally coat the pasta with the sauce.  Serve immediately.

Wine Choices: This dish goes well with either the 2006 or 2007 De Angelis Syrah. alternatively an old style Zinfandel is another good choice.

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Last updated on:10/25/09 02:54:26 PM