Penne with Leeks, Pancetta, and Brussels

Chef Lorenzo Boni

Whole Grain Penne with Leeks, Pancetta, Brussels Sprouts and Bitto Cheese

By Chef Lorenzo Boni of Barilla America.  Serves 25.

This whole wheat penne recipe originates from Northern Italy, an area with a long tradition of using whole grains in their pastas. The mountainous terrain ensured that any grains brought up the mountain would be used and never wasted. Featured in this dish is Bitto cheese, a rare and D.O.P cheese (Denominazione di Origine Protetta or “Protected Designation of Origin”) from Valtellina valley in the northern province of Lombardy. Bitto is considered an ancestor to the famous parmigiana, with some characteristics of an aged swiss cheese. The strong flavors from the cheese and brussels sprouts, along with the sweetness of the leeks and pancetta pair deliciously with whole grain pasta.


  • 3.3 lb. Barilla Whole Grain Penne
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 each finely diced leeks
  • 1 lb. diced pancetta
  • 4 lb. thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
  • 8 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups shredded Bitto cheese


  1. Cook the Barilla® pasta for half the time indicated on the package. Drain pasta and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent from sticking. Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller. Alternatively, cool it down in a walk-in cooler. Store in zip lock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.
  2. Saute the pancetta and leeks in the oil until they are lightly browned. Add the sprouts and saute them until they are browned. Season with salt and pepper and set the mixture aside.
  3. For each serving, to order: Reheat 1 1/3 cups pasta in simmering water. Drain and add it to a pan with the vegetable mixture and 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Bring everything to a simmer and plate.
  4. Garnish with 1 tsp. parsley and about 1 Tbsp. cheese.

About the Chef

Chef Lorenzo Boni grew up with a passion for Italian food in Bologna, Italy.  While studying culinary arts, Lorenzo traveled extensively throughout Italy, immersing himself in the regional cuisines of Italy. In 1999, Lorenzo joined Barilla at their world headquarters in Parma.  Now, Lorenzo is responsible for product and recipe development, managing the culinary execution of all Barilla sponsored events, and is also a spokesperson for Barilla and Italian Food Culture Educator in many food conferences around the United States.

Learn more about Chef Lorenzo Boni on his Chef’s Roll profile here.
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