Linguine, broccoli and pancetta

034copy1I planted broccoli this summer, notwithstanding my understanding that broccoli is a winter crop.

Friends came to visit in early spring and during their stay they toured a broccoli farm that specialises in summer broccoli.  The next day, I was at the local hardware shop and noticed summer broccoli seeds.  I was willing to be proven wrong, so I planted a row of seeds.  And now we have lots of broccoli.  🙂

Last week we had stir fried sweet chilli chicken (with broccoli, onions and red capsicum); then beef & broccoli noodle stir-fry (with soy sauce, oyster sauce and ginger); and then linguine with broccoli and pancetta.

Even though we had broccoli three nights in a row we didn’t feel we were on broccoli over load.  Broccoli overload may have been reached the other night when I had broccoli frittata or last night,  when I rang Maus (she is in Bridgetown and I am not) she was preparing a broccoli cook-op.

I found this recipe for linguine, broccoli and pancetta in a wonderful book Colette, my darling friend, bought me called: The Flavour Thesaurus, Pairings, recipes and ideas for the creative cook by Niki Segnit.  Each ingredient has a chapter and in the chapter pairings with that ingredient are listed.  This recipe comes under the pairing of broccoli and bacon.

The other pairings for broccoli are: broccoli and anchovy; broccoli and beef; broccoli and chilli; broccoli and walnut (one of my favourites);  broccoli and blue cheese (another favourite); broccoli and cauliflower; broccoli and hard cheese; broccoli and peanut; and broccoli and pork.   It is a great book if you create your own recipes and need to understand tried and true culinary pairings.

Our broccoli marathon had the broccoli pairings of broccoli and chilli, broccoli and beef and broccoli and bacon covered. I have also covered a few more pairings in my posts Penne with blue cheese, walnuts and bacon and Penne with broccoli and chorizo.

Under the heading broccoli and bacon Niki states notes that broccoli and pancetta make a delicious bittersweet, salty combination.   She described this dish as an Italian combination that’s almost Asian in its extremes of sweet, sour, salty, hot and umami.

Serves 4


  • 75g pines nuts
  • 3 tbs* olive oil
  • 10 dried chillies
  • 6 cloves of garlic,sliced
  • 400g linguine
  • 400g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 200g pancetta, cubed
  • 100g sun-dried tomatoes, sliced

(I was very flexible with the amount of broccoli and pancetta I used, as I am sure you could also be with the amount of sun-dried tomatoes.)


  1. Toast the pine nuts, set aside.
  2. Cook the linguine.
  3. In a large frying pan over a medium heat, flavour the oil with the dried chillies and garlic.  Remove the chillies and garlic when the garlic is golden.
    (I must admit I threw some of the garlic back in later, but you are not supposed to).
  4. Add the cubed pancetta to the garlicky oil, fry until crisp
  5. Toss in the broccoli, making sure it is well coated in the oil, cook for 4 minutes.
  6. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for a minute longer.
  7. Add 3-5 tablespoons* of pasta cooking water to loosen the mixture.
  8. Drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan with half of the pine nuts.
  9. Turn the heat off, season, and mix thoroughly.
  10. Divide between 4 plates and scatter with the remaining pine nuts and some grated Parmesan.

*These are 15 mil tablespoons.


19 thoughts on “Linguine, broccoli and pancetta

  1. I love broccoli (although I usually mangle the spelling) and eat it year round. That top photo looks fantastic but you really caught my eye with the broccoli and bacon! I make a pan fried broccoli in oil, butter & minced garlic, then toward the end sprinkle on some parmesan cheese & just a touch of breadcrumbs. But now I’m thinking there’s no reason to not toss in some bacon too – thanks for that suggestion.

    • Hi Celia, This is the first time I have grown it. I didn’t even know you could grow it in summer. I am going to try with a normal variety this autumn and see how I go.

  2. What was the variety you planted Glenda? I would love to give it a try next summer. Interesting you have had no problems with bugs, which is what we always struggle with in summer. I have the Flavour Thesaurus too. Fantastic book. I can vouch for the broccoli & anchovy combination. I use it all the time.

    • Hi Tania, They were Yates Summer Green seeds. The leaves did get some holes in them but nothing too serious. I think broccoli would be much better grown in autumn as nature intended. Clearly, the summer varieties are so we can have broccoli all year round.

  3. Broccoli is one of the few vegetables that I can get year-round here and that tastes good. I love the stuff, so long as it isn’t just steamed. That’s too plain. This pasta dish is similar to one that I make, only I use sausage meat instead of pancetta. I need to give yours a try. It sounds very good.

  4. I’m a fan of broccoli because it goes with everything… even simply bbq-ed steak is delicious accompanied by it. Of course, the G.O. isn’t a fan, so even better it’s easy to prepare a single serve. Your photo is great, it certainly whet my appetite 🙂

  5. I have a preview of The Flavour Thesaurus but haven’t pressed the buy button because I don’t really need any more food books. Maybe I should though. Broccoli and bacon sounds a good combination – I use bacon and cauliflower together so it’s not a great leap to broccoli! Good photo Glenda; I could never make a plate of pasta look that appealing.

    • Hi Anne, I use broccoli a lot in pasta and it is interesting when I examine the recipes they are all based on one of the pairings listed in the book. The book is not a book of recipes but there are some in it. I am at the stage where I don’t need any more recipes but hey, what the hell? It is interesting you like the photo. I nearly didn’t do the post because I thought the photo was a no goer. I must be a bad judge.

    • Hi Claire, this is my first try. I am going to plant the winter variety in autumn and see how I go. I was amazed that the bugs didn’t get it and I got good heads. Clearly, this variety is different to what we normally grow over winter.

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