You can substitute the pancetta, if you must, with bacon; but make sure you cut it first in 1/2 inch pieces and boil it in about 2 inches of water for about 5 minutes to get rid of the fat. Then proceed with the recipe.
Bottled chestnuts might now be on sale at your local Williams Sonoma. I am lucky enough to live about 10 minutes from their outlet and got them this weekend half price. I have been hoarding bottles for 2 weeks, saving three for my chestnut soup on Christmas Eve. You will also find them at specialty stores but try to get this brand, they are superb, although a bit pricey. If you go the long route, try to steam instead of boiling or roasting.
Serves 4 as a main course or 6 for a first course
3 ounces Pancetta chopped
1 TB Olive Oil
1 small Onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 TB finely chopped sage
1/2 lbs ( 1 1/2 cups) bottled, peeled and cooked chestnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 lbs Pappardelle, tagliatelle or fettuccine
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 TB butter
3 TB Heavy cream (optional)*
Salt & Pepper
1 Tb finely chopped parsley
Cook pancetta in oil in a 12 inch skillet until it begins to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and 1 Tb sage. Cook for another minute. Add chestnuts and remove from heat.
Cook pasta until al dente and drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
Add pasta to the pancetta mixture, plus 1 cup of reserved water, the cheese and butter and stir constantly over high heat until thoroughly coated, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, add the remaining sage and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately and pass some extra cheese.
* I added the heavy cream after adding about 1/2 cup of the water. Reduced water by 1/4 cup. This is optional but yummy. You can skip and just add the water.