15-Minute Spinach Penne with Pancetta

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

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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.


  • 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.