Unlike Lincoln, I would never walk a mile to return a penny. And unlike Washington, I would never admit to cutting down a cherry tree. But there are some things about which I cannot tell a lie, and one of them is Sunday Pasta. So here goes. I have no idea where this recipe comes from. I know that my mamma has been making it deliciously for decades, but its origins are obscure. Maybe it hails from a quaint village in northern Italy. Or maybe, just maybe, it hails from a quaint village in northern New Jersey. Hmmm…
Either way, to me it is a quintessential cool weather dish. Pinoli (pine nuts), pancetta, and fresh mushrooms combine to serve up the colors, tastes, and smells of a clear, fall day.
In a large skillet, over medium heat sauté the onion in the olive oil until golden. Add the mushrooms and cook until they lose their liquid and are browned. Cover and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
In another skillet, over medium heat, sauté the pancetta in a little olive oil until crisp. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and add to mushrooms. In the skillet where the pancetta was cooked, add the pinoli and sauté, over medium-low heat until golden brown. Add the pinoli to the mushroom and pancetta mixture. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Cook the pasta until al dente (about 2 minutes less than the package directions). Drain, and retain 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the mushroom mixture and cook together for 1 minute. Add a little of the retained cooking water if the mixture seems too dry.
Serve with grated Parmigiano.