Easy Squash and Pancetta Pasta is anything-but-basic. Italian bacon and tender, sweet squash make for a sophisticated, but simply delicious dinner.
Tasty dinners come in all shapes and sizes. You can actually choose the shape of this one! Just pick a pasta, your favorite shape, and toss it with delicious flavors like pancetta, parsley and lemon. Mangia!
Pancetta is made of pork belly meat that is salt cured. It's spiced with black pepper and often other spices. This process makes it similar to bacon in the sense that it is cured, but different in flavor. Bacon gets cold smoked after it is cured to give it that classic and distinctive taste.
I chose pancetta here for it's unique aromatic flavor (but of course feel free to substitute bacon). I also love that I can get pancetta cut in one large piece that I can dice, or even purchase it already diced in packages. When it's diced and cooked it turns into meaty, salty little bites, perfect for tossing in pasta dishes.
Feel like a superstar – make Easy Squash and Pancetta Pasta for dinner tonight!
Pancetta, like bacon, needs to be rendered. That means the fat needs to be slowly cooked so it melts, instead of cooking quickly and burning. By rendering the meat, you are left with the meaty bits in a hot pool of flavorful fat. This lovely melty stuff then becomes like the sauce and flavoring for the rest of the vegetables and pasta.
I used baby zucchini and pattypan squash in this pasta because it's tender and oh so cute. Feel free to sub diced, regular zucchini and even yellow summer squash instead. This pasta is also delicious eaten cold as leftovers the next day! Enjoy!
Squash and Pancetta Pasta
- 1 1- lb box pasta such as campanelle, casarecce, or cavatappi
- 1 cup (6 oz) pancetta cut into ¼-inch cubes, or 6 to 8 slices bacon, chopped
- 1¾ lbs (5 cups) baby zucchini and pattypan squash cut into 1-inch pieces
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse; transfer to a large serving bowl.
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook pancetta until fat is rendered and pancetta is crisp, about 8 to 10 min. Remove pancetta, reserving fat in pan.
- Add zucchini and squash to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown in parts and cooked through, 5 to 6 min.
- Toss pasta with vegetables, pancetta, parsley, lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Are you ready for some more easy and crowd-pleasing dinners? Try my Chicken-And-Rice Lettuce Wraps for a hands on meal. Fun to wrap and fun to eat.
Corn Chorizo Tacos are a great twist on the traditional beef taco. Spicy chorizo and sweet corn make the perfect combination.
Recipe by Tara Bench & Vanessa Seder. Photography Miki Dusterhof. Food Styling Jee Levin. Prop Stylist Pamela Duncan Silver. Originally published in LHJ 04/09.