Spinach with pancetta is a classic Italian way to eat spinach. This recipe which is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants here in Austin takes it to the next level because of the copious amounts of pancetta and shallots used. It also has a nice touch of butter that makes it so good.
This is definitely an amazing way to eat spinach and it is especially loved by those who aren’t usually big fans of it. This side dish 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.
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.
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 once you give it a try- I promise!
Spinach with Crispy Pancetta and Shallots
- 16 oz of baby spinach
- 4 oz of diced pancetta
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of butter
- 1 shallot finely diced
- 1 lemon for squeezing over top at the end
- 1/4 tsp 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 1/2 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.