Fingerling Potato Pasta

Potatoes and pasta?  Really..?

In fact, if you try this recipe, you may just shout “yes” from the rooftops.  OK, maybe that is a little dramatic, but trust me on this, your taste buds will be happy!
The story behind this is quite simple.  I love fingerling potatoes and I love to cook pasta.  Why not find a way to combine the two.  This recipe will show you how.  I have to give a shout to Chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame for the inspiration on this one.  Of course I made a few minor changes and added a protein!  I like it with orecchiette (“small ear”) pasta, which is common in southern Italy.

·         1 lb. Orecchiette pasta
·         1 lb. fingerling potatoes
·         ½ lb pancetta, diced
·         1 large red onion, thinly sliced
·         4 cloves garlic, minced
·         1 Tbsp rosemary, chopped
·         1 Tbsp thyme, chopped
·         2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
·         1 bunch arugula
·         ¼ cup parmesan, freshly grated
·         Lemon
·         Olive oil
·         Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Clean  and slice the potatoes 1/3 inch thick and toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Layer on a roasting pan and roast in oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and tender.
Bring large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.  Meanwhile, cook the pancetta in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Remove the pancetta when golden and set aside - drain off fat from the pan. 

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to the pan and add the onions and cook 10 minutes.  Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook per directions.  Add garlic and herbs to the onion and sauté for 2 minutes.  Next add the potatoes and pancetta and incorporate with a bit more olive oil as needed. When the pasta is ready, drain and add to the pan with the potato mixture.  (I like to reserve a bit of the pasta water to add as well.)  Add a couple generous handfuls of the arugula and then the parmesan.  Next add fresh squeezed lemon juice (1 or 2 lemons) and salt and pepper to taste.  Plate and serve.