15-Minute Spinach Penne with Pancetta

Eight years ago this month I shared my first recipe here and little did I know it would lead me to a worldwide community of people who love food and cooking. Today, I’m sharing a little of what that community means to me, introducing you to some of my friends, and sharing a simple 15-Minute Spinach Penne with Pancetta. It’s sort of like a virtual potluck, so I hope you’ll gather ’round with us.

spinach penne with pancetta in a white bowl with a fork and a blue napkin


One by-product of blogging for the last few years are the connections I’ve made with other people all over the world. When I published my first post eight years ago this month I didn’t think anyone would read what I had to say. I also had no clue it was the first step into a worldwide community of people who love food and cooking. Often times it’s the connections with this community, both with readers and fellow bloggers, that keeps me cooking when times get tough.

Those connections make the world feel like a much smaller place.

Spinach and pancetta in a skillet

And the world feels smaller this week. When heart-wrenching things happen I want to crawl into bed with a pillow over my head to block out the one incessant question: Why? It’s a question that so often goes unanswered during times like these and so I remind myself there is more to love in the world than there is to fear, there is so much more that connects us than divides us and, at the end of the day, we all care about the same simple things.

Kindness, in my experience, is the norm and not the exception.

Spinach and pancetta sauce in a skillet

So this post today, in partnership with some of my blogger friends from around the world, is a reminder that we’re all neighbors and one of the best things we can do for each other is share a meal.

The collaborative post idea came about several weeks ago when we agreed to develop recipes using the same main ingredient. Each of us, from places like Hungary, Italy, the US, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, and India, spent time in our own kitchens cooking a dish to share with each other and our readers. I take comfort in knowing we gathered around our tables to enjoy our creations before sharing them, on the same day, with the world. I’ve always waxed poetic about the family table and sharing of meals and, living on my own now, I’ve learned a kitchen table transcends borders and countries.

Today we’re all gathered around to share dishes using one of my most favorite ingredients: pasta. My contribution is a simple spinach penne with pancetta dish that takes all of 15 minutes to make start to finish. The time saved in making dinner lets us linger around the table longer because sharing a meal is so much more than just passing plates around. It’s a point of connection that can remind us of what really matters.

Spinach and Pancetta Pasta in a skillet

Pasta Recipes from Around the World

Thank you for supporting our little virtual potluck – you can get the recipes for all the dishes by clicking the links below!

Brunch Pasta with Bacon and Egg from Sprinkles and Sprouts

Instant Pot Carbonara from Every Nook and Cranny

Hot Caprese Pasta from An Italian in My Kitchen

Lemon Sun-Dried Tomato Linguini from Goodie Godmother

Stir Fry Noodles from I’d Rather Be A Chef

Pea and Ham Penne Rigatoni from Krumpli

Italian Antipasto Tortellini from My Food Story



15-Minute Spinach Penne with Pancetta

15-Minute Spinach Penne with Pancetta - a fast & easy dinner idea! | girlgonegourmet.com

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5 from 1 review

Cooking from scratch is always a pleasure, but sometimes short-cuts are what make dinner a reality, especially during busy times. Use your favorite store-bought marinara sauce and this dinner will be done in the time it takes to boil the pasta.

  • Author: April @ Girl Gone Gourmet
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American


  • 8 ounces penne
  • 2 ounces diced pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups frozen chopped spinach (see note)
  • 1 1/2 cups jarred marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, for serving


  1. Place the pancetta in a large pan and turn the heat to medium. Cook the pancetta until it’s released it’s fat. Add the balsamic vinegar and scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the chopped spinach and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and stir to combine. Add the chopped parsley and heavy cream. Simmer on low until the pasta is ready.
  2. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and stir to coat it in the sauce. Serve with grated Parmesan on top.


Instead of buying a 10 ounce brick of frozen spinach – that requires defrosting and squeezing to remove excess liquid – look for bags of frozen chopped spinach, which makes it easy to measure out the amount you need.


  • Calories: 437

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