Dairy Farmers of Canada

Spaghettini with Pancetta, Fennel and Arugula

This recipe is taken from the 2011 Milk Calendar. A simple pasta dish comes to the rescue for a fabulous meal. The flavours of pancetta, fennel and arugula are complemented wonderfully by the delicate cream sauce.

  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cooking: 15 min - 20 min
Yields 4 servings
spaghettini with pancetta fennel and arugula


  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 12 oz (375 g) spaghettini
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
  • 3 oz (90 g) sliced pancetta or prosciutto cut into thin strips
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (250 mL) 10 % cream or 18 % cream
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) freshly grated Canadian Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups (1 L) baby arugula leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shaved Canadian Parmesan cheese
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Trim root end and stalks from fennel bulb. Finely chop fennel fronds; set aside. Cut bulb in half lengthwise and trim out core. Cut each half lengthwise into thin slices; set aside.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions until tender but firm (al dente). Drain, reserving 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) of the pasta cooking water; return pasta to pot

Meanwhile, in a skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat; add sliced fennel bulb, pancetta and garlic and sauté for about 5 to 10 min or until fennel is tender. Whisk flour into cream and stir into pan; cook, stirring, for about 3 min or until thickened. Stir in the grated Canadian Parmesan cheese.

Add to pasta in pot and gently toss, adding the arugula and enough of the reserved pasta water to moisten. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top each serving with shaved Parmesan cheese and reserved fennel fronds.


Variation: You can replace arugula with asparagus if you prefer. Add 8 oz (250 g) chopped trimmed asparagus to pasta for the last 1 min of cooking time.

For the Adventurous: Add 1/4 tsp (1 mL) hot pepper flakes with the pancetta and use Canadian Asiago or Sharp Provolone in place of the Parmesan.

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Nutritional information

Per serving
Energy: 585 Calories
Protein: 25 g
Carbohydrate: 81 g
Fat: 18 g
Fibre: 5.6 g
Sodium: 621 mg

Top 5 Nutrients

(% DV*)
Calcium: 29 % / 315 mg
Folate: 121 %
Riboflavin: 39 %
Selenium: 138 %
Thiamin: 80 %