Pasta With Fennel/Pancetta/Strawberries/Basil.

Summer and I have a love/hate relationship. While I love what it brings in bountiful produce (tomatoes, strawberries, snap peas, oh my!), I hate having to change shirts when I get to the office because my subway car resembled that of a sauna. And while I love nothing more than a hot summer day on the beaches of North Carolina, I hate having to shuck out nearly $400 to fly my ass down there only to spend another $100 at the Delta bar because, surprise surprise, my flight’s been delayed at Laguardia. (And Dad, don’t be a wise ass and say, “You don’t have to go to the bar.” Yes, I do.)

And then there’s summer training. I’ve long forgotten how much I hate summer training. I took last summer off thinking it would be good for me. And, as my love/hate relationship with summer works, I ended up being ill with stomach pains for half of it and not remotely enjoying myself. So, with New York City marathon training in full swing, I’ve been back at it, and have had to put my Chicago Marathon training thinking cap on, because HOLY SHIT, I forgot how much this blows. The occasional, “Oh, shit, it’s gon’ rain,” popping up here and there makes for early morning wake-up calls, the going through two bottles of water in 95% humidity, the slower paces because of said humidity, etc.  

And then there’s the heart rate training. For now, I’ll save the “I hate my Coach so much that I’m going to make our cat poop in his morning coffee” for another post, and celebrate summer strawberries to brighten my mood. And possibly yours. Sorry, I seem to have put my grumpy pants on this morning.

Pasta with Strawberries/Fennel/Pancetta/Basil
Serves 4

Flipping delicious.
Flipping delicious.

1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
¾ cup hand torn basil leaves
1 ½ cups quartered strawberries
4 oz. diced pancetta
1 head of fennel, sliced in half, cored, and julienned
1 shallot, finely diced
1 cup white wine
Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, as much or as little as you like
Sea salt
Fresh black pepper

1. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil; cook pasta to al dente.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil to medium high heat; add shallot and pancetta; sauté until golden, about 5-7 minutes; add fennel, sauté until golden, about 10 minutes; add white wine, bringing up brown bits from the bottom of the pan; reduce to 1-2 Tbsps. liquid; season to taste; reserve.
3. Drain pasta to fennel mix; toss with strawberries, basil, grated Parmesan; season to taste; serve.



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