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Fettuccine with Beans and Pancetta

Here is a marvelously simple way to enjoy green beans as they come into season. The recipe as published calls for runner beans, these being any of the flat-podded varieties of green beans, such as Romano. We are growing these in our kitchen garden this summer, as well as the more slender-podded filet-type beans, and in fact we used both and had something of an epiphany whilst preparing the beans for the pot: the filet-type bean (haricot vert) is also known as a French bean and thus the technique of slicing beans into long slender pieces known as ‘frenching’ finally makes sense! Were we the last ones to figure this out, we wonder?!?

At any rate, whether runner or filet, the beans are the stars of this delicious dish, so be sure to use the freshest you can find if you don’t grow them yourself. By the way, the pancetta is worth searching out, but if you absolutely can’t find any, thin-sliced bacon will do here.

Fettuccine with Beans and Pancetta

3.5 oz. pancetta
12 oz. fettuccine
14 oz. green beans, trimmed and thickly sliced on the diagonal if flat-podded or cut bite-sized if slender variety
6 tbs. crème fraîche
3 tbs. snipped chives
finely grated Parmesan, to serve

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, separate the slices of pancetta and cook them in two batches in a large non-stick frying pan until the fat on the pancetta is golden. Lift out onto a plate to crisp up.

When the water is boiling, add the pasta to the pot and boil for 6 minutes. Tip in the beans, quickly return to the boil and cook for about 4 minutes more until both the pasta and beans are just tender.

Drain and tip into a large serving bowl. Toss with the crème fraîche, chives, and plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper, then tear up the pancetta and add to toss through. Serve with the Parmesan to sprinkle atop.

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