ISO: Recipe for Rigatoni in a fontina cheese sauce w/ bacon or pancetta & spinach
I had this dish at an Italian buffet restaurant and it was SO good. I don't know what the exact name of the dish is but I want to try to find a recipe so I can make it at home. My husband keeps telling me that I don't need a recipe because I know what's in it but my doubting mind wants a recipe to hold my hand. : )
How specific do you need your recipe to be? I'd suggest the following: Put your water on to boil. When it is coming to a boil and when the pasta is cooking, you can do the sauce. Start by rendering diced pancetta. Once it's rendered a good deal, remove the meat. Maybe throw in a dollop of butter. Once the fat and butter are melted, toss in a big spoonful of flour. Whisk whisk whisk until the butter and flour mixture has come together in a roux, but don't let it get too dark, or your sauce will be dark. Pour in milk, whisking the entire time, and simmer until the sauce thickens. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and stir. I guess here is where I'd add in the spinach and the meat again, stirring until the spinach wilts. Last, stir in grated cheese AFTER you've shut the heat off, and stirr in the pasta. I suggested nutmeg as a likely spice because it's often a key element of both cream sauces and cooked spinach recipes, so it makes sense, but if you identified another flavor, use that instead.
I'd make the pasta, (hold it in a strainer or hot water) Saute the pancetta with fresh cracked pepper. In the same pan add some white wine or vermouth say about 2 ounces. Let it reduce, and add a cup of cream meanwhile as it warms, have a couple cups of grated fontina ready and add to the hot cream, stir, add black pepper and nutmeg/ Taste for salt add if necessary. Then add your pasta to the sauce, and throw in fresh spinach. This is the way I make pasta alfredo (using romano cheese) with fresh spinach & pancetta or prucuitto.