Now that I’m back on the meat, I’ve been meaning to make a dish with pancetta, bacon’s Italian cousin. Since pancetta doesn’t have that smokiness that bacon does, it won’t overpower the other flavors in your dish yet adds the succulent and distinct essence of pork. Sign me up!
Originally, this recipe was just going to be lentils and mushrooms, sauteed with olive oil and shallots. Once I made that rendition, I wasn’t wowed – and I want to be wowed every time. Rummaging through my fridge, I found pancetta tucked behind a tub of hummus – I bought it a couple days prior and forgot!
The stars aligned and this dish tastes exactly as I had imagined – every bite is hearty, textured and full-flavored. The warmth of the vegetable broth and nuttiness of the toasted almonds are suitable for the impending fall… just get in your jammies and make this for dinner.
Mission accomplished: I ate pancetta. Check!
Instructions with Pictures
Prepare your lentils, according to package directions. Allot about 20-35 minutes for this. When done, set aside.
While lentils are cooking, cook the pancetta. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and lay in the pancetta. Cook about 2 minutes per side or until pancetta is to your crispy preference. When done, transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
Ten minutes before the lentils are done, place a large skillet over medium-low heat and add in the olive oil. Add in the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, and then add in the shallots. Cook for 30 seconds and then add in the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
Cook the mushrooms, shallots and garlic until the mushrooms wilt down and brown, about 6-8 minutes.
Halfway through cooking the mushrooms, add in the vegetable broth and reduce. If the broth isn’t boiling, raise heat slightly.
While broth is reducing, place a skillet over medium heat and add in the almonds. Cook the almonds, about 1-3 minutes or until you can smell their nutty flavor. Be careful not to burn! Set aside once done.
After reducing, add in the pancetta and zucchini noodles. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently until the noodles are softened and heated through.
Add in the lentils, toss with freshly chopped parsley, and plate onto dishes.
Top with toasted almonds and enjoy!