Parsnip and Pancetta Tagliatelle with Parmesan and Butter

After reading good reviews about the flavours produced when mixing parsnip, pancetta, Parmesan, and tagliatelle together (wish it had been pasta instead of tagliatelle for the alliteration win), I decided to try making it to find out for myself. Jamie Oliver calls it “a bloody good combo”. Will it become part of the whatfoodimade repertoire?

Let see what happens.

There was tagliatelle pasta.

tagliatelle pasta

Tagliatelle pasta.

And a parsnip, Parmesan and pancetta.

parsnip, Parmesan and pancetta

Parsnip. Parmesan. Pancetta.

The pancetta was diced.

diced pancetta

Diced pancetta.

The parsnip was sliced.

slices of parsnip

Slices of parsnip.

The Parmesan was grated.

grated Parmesan

Grated Parmesan.

Pancetta and thyme were cooked in butter.

cooking the pancetta

Cooking the pancetta.

Then the sliced parsnips and garlic were added.

parsnips added to the pancetta

Parsnips added to the pancetta.

While that cooking was happening, the pasta was cooked and drained.

cooked and drained tagliatelle

Cooked and drained tagliatelle.

Then the whole dish was assembled. Pasta tossed together in the pan holding the pancetta, garlic and parsnips, along with about half a cup of the reserved pasta water, a bit more butter and the Parmesan. It looked like this:

Parsnip and pancetta tagliatelle with Parmesan

Parsnip and pancetta tagliatelle with Parmesan.

The verdict: it’s not my favourite pasta dish of all time. If I make it again, I’ll take the pancetta and garlic out of the pan and cook the parsnips so they can become more browned. Maybe I’ll dice the parsnips instead and use strips of pancetta rather than cubes. Or I could roast the parsnips, then toss them into the pancetta for flavouring.

So it’s not a whatfoodimade go-to dish, but I’m glad I tried it.

Here’s a link to the recipe:

Parsnip and Pancetta Tagliatelle with Parmesan and Butter


12 slices of pancetta or dry-cured smoked streaky bacon, preferably free-range or organic
1 handful of fresh rosemary, thyme or summer savory, leaves picked
4 good knobs of butter
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
2 parsnips, peeled, halved and finely sliced lengthways
1 pound dried tagliatelle
3 good handfuls of grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large, non-stick frying pan, fry your pancetta and herbs in half the butter for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and parsnips. Cook for a further 3 minutes on a medium heat, until the pancetta is slightly golden and the parsnips have softened nicely.

Cook your tagliatelle in salted boiling water according to packet instructions, then drain, reserving a little of the cooking water. Mix the pasta with the parsnips and pancetta and stir in the rest of your butter and the Parmesan, adding a little of the cooking water to loosen the mixture and make it creamy and shiny. Season to taste.


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