You Are Having Some Friends Over for Reality TV Night

January 26, 2010 by

Reality TV ... it's a guilty pleasure.

Where else can you watch people find their one true love by dating 25 hopeful true loves over just a few weeks ...

It doesn't get more real than every steamy detail of your life filmed and shared with a massive production crew, extremely romantic and over-the-top  "don't-worry-about-the-expense" dates where helicopters, limos and celebrities are par for the course, and an ongoing supply of alcohol and drama to help ensure the relationship begin with a stable foundation.

Talk about the perfect recipe!

And what can be better then watching that train wreck with some good friends, over a great meal.

Since you'll probably be sitting on the couch while you're eating, you'll want to serve something that doesn't require a knife and fork.

And think about how much less likely it will be for anyone to spill their food after laughing out loud as the drama unfolds if the meal is neatly contained in an over-sized pasta bowl.

This pasta with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and pancetta is the perfect choice.  Because in addition to being easy to enjoy in front of television, it's surprisingly healthy and light … two words not usually used to describe pasta dishes.

So the next time you want to indulge in a little reality TV with friends, set the DVR and get ready to laugh.  You have the perfect recipe for a healthy pasta dish that you'll enjoy just as much as your guilty pleasure.

Until our next meal,


Pasta with Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pancetta


  • 12 Oz Gemelli or Fusilli Pasta
  • Pasta with Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pancetta

    Pasta with Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pancetta

  • 2 Cups Chopped Spinach or Broccoli
  • 1/2 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Diced (Not packed in oil.)
  • 1 Tbs Pine Nuts
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbs Breadcrumbs (Plain or Parmesan)
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 4 Oz Pancetta (Italian Bacon) Cut Into Thin Strips
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Red or Green Jalapeno Pepper, Thinly Sliced (Remove the seeds!)
  • 4 Tbs Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package until just al dente (most likely about 10 minutes).
  2. Add the spinach or broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally another 2 minutes.
  3. Drain the pasta and veggies, reserving about a cup of the pasta water. (If you accidentally dump it all out like I did the first time, don't worry. Regular water will work just fine, even if the pasta water is preferred.) Set aside.
  4. In a large skillet, toast the pine nut over medium-high heat, about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the breadcrumbs, and a bit of pepper to taste.
  5. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a little dish, set aside, and wipe out the skillet with a paper towel.
  7. Add the pancetta to the skillet and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes.
  8. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and blot until dry.
  9. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, and then add the garlic and jalepeno and cook until fragrant and the garlic begins to brown very slightly, about 1 minute.
  10. Add the drained pasta to the skillet still containing the jalapeno and garlic, along with the pancetta, and toss, drizzling in enough pasta water to moisten if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Divide the pasta among bowls and top with the breadcrumb mixture and parmesan.