Pennette with smoked trout, creme fraiche, spinach and pancetta

Karen Martini
Pennette with smoked trout, creme fraiche, spinach and pancetta.
Pennette with smoked trout, creme fraiche, spinach and pancetta. Photo: Marcel Aucar, Styling: Marnie Ro

Pasta is a staple in so many Australian homes, Italian or otherwise. And though we all love the true Italian classics, a break from tradition is not such a bad thing every now and then. This pasta makes for a delicious, and super quick, midweek meal; the spike of chilli and sour tang of the fraiche is a great foil for the salty pancetta and rich trout.


500g pennette or your favourite short pasta

extra-virgin olive oil

10 slices pancetta

4 eschalots, finely sliced

4 large cloves garlic, finely sliced

3 handfuls baby spinach

salt flakes

freshly ground black pepper

100ml dry white wine

250g smoked trout, flaked in large pieces

200g creme fraiche

2 handfuls parsley leaves, torn

1/2 a lemon

1 tsp dried chilli flakes


1. Before you start cooking, make sure that all your prep is done and to hand, as this pasta will come together very quickly.

2. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water until it is al dente. Don't discard the pasta cooking water.

3. While the pasta cooks, heat a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside.

4. Add the sliced eschalots and garlic and cook over a medium heat until they pick up some colour. Add the spinach, fry until wilted, season. Add the wine, bring to the boil and bubble for one minute. Take off the heat.

5. Add the chunks of trout, creme fraiche and about 60 millilitres of the pasta cooking water. Stir through gently, being careful not to break up the trout.

6. Quickly drain the pasta, add to the pan and place back over the heat. Add the parsley and toss through gently, keeping the trout in large pieces. Squeeze over the lemon, splash in a little oil, season with salt and pepper and toss through. Serve with the crisp pancetta pieces on top and a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes.


When cooking pasta, it is always important to generously salt the water. If you don't, it can taste flat and you can never get the same result seasoning after it's cooked.

The key to this recipe is to work speedily, you really don't want to cook out the sauce, just bring it together so that it coats and dresses the pasta. The fraiche will gently melt and the warm pennette will take up the sauce.