Spinach with pancetta is a classic Italian way to eat spinach. This Italian spinach recipe which was inspired by one of my favorite restaurants here in Austin. It takes it to the next level because of the copious amounts of pancetta and shallots used. This Italian spinach also has a nice touch of butter that makes it so good. This easy Italian spinach recipe is perfect as a casual side dish but fancy enough to serve at the holidays.
About this Italian Spinach Recipe
This Italian spinach recipe is definitely an amazing way to eat spinach. It is especially loved by those who aren't usually big fans of it. It is my favorite spinach recipe!
This traditional Italian Italian way to prepare spinach has salty bites from the pancetta, a light onion flavor added by the shallots and the fresh lemon squeezed over top at the end that brighten up all the flavors.
This Italian spinach is so versatile with what you serve it.
There are not too many ingredients you need to make this easy Italian spinach. Here is what they are:
- Baby spinach. This spinach is the most tender and the best to use for this recipe. If you can't find it, regular spinach will work but just make sure to remove the stems.
- Pancetta. This is the salty bite in the recipe.
- Olive oil, Just a little bit.
- Butter. Just a little and it really makes this spinach and pancetta recipe so good.
- Lemon. Lemon is squeezed over the spinach before serving and it helps brighten up the flavors and it helps with that gritty feeling that spinach can sometimes leave behind in your mouth.
- Kosher salt.
How to make
This is such an incredibly easy spinach recipe but so big on flavor. Here is what the steps look like (full recipe below)
- Saute: Shallots and pancetta and cook until the pancetta until very crispy.
- Add Spinach: Add baby spinach and cook until spinach just begins to wilt.
- Add Lemom: Now squeeze ½ of your lemon over the spinach and toss again.
- Pour into a serving bowl: making sure to get all of the yummy juices and bits of pancetta and shallots at the bottom.
About Italian pancetta
If you are not familiar with pancetta, it is a salty Italian bacon with a peppery bite. You can get this in thin slices already packaged near the deli or at the deli counter where you can ask them to slice a thick piece (about 1 inch thick) and then cube it up when you get home. I always prefer this method.
You can stock up on these thick slices of pancetta and place them in the freezer for last minute meals like this pasta with pancetta, or as I like to call it, our Italian fast food. We also have our favorite pancetta recipes you can check out.
If you cannot find pancetta, you could use an uncured peppery bacon or regular bacon and then add a little fresh ground black pepper. A few simple ingredients is all you need to make this. You will love this Italian spinach once you give it a try- I promise!
What to serve with this Italian spinach
We love serving this Italian spinach with so many recipes. Here are a few to give you some inspiration:
More Spinach Recipes:
- Spinach and Pancetta Quiche
- Pasta with Chickpeas Spinach and Kale
- Spinach and Mushroom Salad
- Ricotta Meatballs with Spinach
Italian Spinach Recipe Faqs
Italian spinach is called merlo nero, a mild Italian spinach or viroflay, a large leaf Italian spinach.
The Italian word for spinach is lo spinacio.
Spinach with Crispy Pancetta and Shallots
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- 16 oz of baby spinach
- 4 oz of diced pancetta
- 2 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 tablespoon of butter
- 1 shallot finely diced
- 1 lemon for squeezing over top at the end
- ¼ teaspoon of salt or to taste
- In a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat add your butter, olive oil, shallots and pancetta and cook until the pancetta is very crispy. This is important. You want it to the point it is just starting to brown like crispy bacon (5-10 minutes).
- Now add your baby spinach to the pot and mix well making sure to coat your spinach in the pancetta and olive oil mixture. Cook until your spinach just begins to wilt.
- Remove from heat.
- Now add your salt and toss your spinach around in the pan again just to make sure you get all of the bits of pancetta and shallot from the bottom of the pan incorporated into your spinach.
- Now squeeze ½ of your lemon over the spinach and toss again.
- Pour into a serving bowl making sure to get all of the yummy juices and bits of pancetta and shallots at the bottom.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here