BUCATINI WITH PANCETTA, ONIONS AND ZUCCHINI

ZUCCHINI AND PASTA MAKE A PERFECT PAIR, ADAPTABLE TO SO MANY TREATMENTS -- WITH TOMATOES, WITH LEMON AND MINT OR BASIL PESTO  -- AND, IN THIS CASE, PANCETTA AND ONION.  THE TRICK WITH ZUCCHINI IS NOT TO OVERCOOK IT, SO I SAUTÉ IT VERY BRIEFLY BEFORE TOSSING IT WITH THE BUCATINI, ONIONS AND PANCETTA.  SLIGHTLY UNDERCOOKED, IT RETAINS ITS FLAVOR AND A PLEASANT CRUNCH, A COMPLEMENT TO THE PANCETTA AND THE CARAMELIZED ONIONS.  EXPERIMENT WITH DIFFERENT CHEESES; PERHAPS A SOFT TALEGGIO INSTEAD OF THE PARMESAN OR MAYBE A BIT OF BOTH.

 1 lb BUCATINI
  lb PANCETTA OR BACON
 1 LARGE RED ONION
 2 MEDIUM ZUCCHINI
 ITALIAN PARSLEY
 FRESH-GRATED PARMESAN

1

BRING A LARGE POT OF WATER TO BOIL. SALT GENEROUSLY.

MEANWHILE, CUT THE PANCETTA INTO 1/2 INCH PIECES AND BROWN IN A LARGE FRYING PAN WITH A SPLASH OF OLIVE OIL.

TRIM AND PEEL THE ONION. SLICE THINLY.

WHEN THE PANCETTA HAS BROWNED, REMOVE WITH A SLOTTED SPOON. ADD THE ONIONS, COVER AND COOK ON LOW HEAT TILL THEY HAVE SOFTENED THEN UNCOVER AND CONTINUE COOKING, TURNING FREQUENTLY UNTIL THE ONIONS ARE NICELY CARAMELIZED BUT NOT CHARRED. SCRAPE THE ONIONS INTO A BOWL.

COOK THE PASTA.

MEANWHILE, SCRUB THE ZUCCHINI UNDER RUNNING WATER TO REMOVE ANY GRIT. DRY. TRIM THE ENDS, SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF, THEN SLICE INTO THIN HALF MOONS.

JUST BEFORE THE PASTA IS DONE, SCOOP OUT A CUP OF THE PASTA WATER.

DRAIN THE PASTA.

HEAT 2 TBSPS OF OLIVE OIL IN THE SAME PAN WHERE YOU COOKED THE PANCETTA AND ONIONS. TOSS THE ZUCCHINI FOR ABOUT A MINUTE IN THE PAN. SALT AND PEPPER. ADD THE PASTA, 1/2 CUP OF PASTA WATER, PANCETTA AND ONIONS. CONTINUE TO COOK FOR ANOTHER 30 SECONDS TURNING CONTINUOUSLY UNTIL ALL THE INGREDIENTS ARE MIXED TOGETHER. ADD MORE PASTA WATER IF NECESSARY. ADD A COUPLE OF TBSPS OF PARMESAN. PUT THE PASTA IN A WARM BOWL, SCATTER WITH ROUGHLY CHOPPED PARSLEY AND SERVE WITH MORE PARMESAN ON THE SIDE.

SERVES 4

Ingredients

 1 lb BUCATINI
  lb PANCETTA OR BACON
 1 LARGE RED ONION
 2 MEDIUM ZUCCHINI
 ITALIAN PARSLEY
 FRESH-GRATED PARMESAN

Directions

1

BRING A LARGE POT OF WATER TO BOIL. SALT GENEROUSLY.

MEANWHILE, CUT THE PANCETTA INTO 1/2 INCH PIECES AND BROWN IN A LARGE FRYING PAN WITH A SPLASH OF OLIVE OIL.

TRIM AND PEEL THE ONION. SLICE THINLY.

WHEN THE PANCETTA HAS BROWNED, REMOVE WITH A SLOTTED SPOON. ADD THE ONIONS, COVER AND COOK ON LOW HEAT TILL THEY HAVE SOFTENED THEN UNCOVER AND CONTINUE COOKING, TURNING FREQUENTLY UNTIL THE ONIONS ARE NICELY CARAMELIZED BUT NOT CHARRED. SCRAPE THE ONIONS INTO A BOWL.

COOK THE PASTA.

MEANWHILE, SCRUB THE ZUCCHINI UNDER RUNNING WATER TO REMOVE ANY GRIT. DRY. TRIM THE ENDS, SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF, THEN SLICE INTO THIN HALF MOONS.

JUST BEFORE THE PASTA IS DONE, SCOOP OUT A CUP OF THE PASTA WATER.

DRAIN THE PASTA.

HEAT 2 TBSPS OF OLIVE OIL IN THE SAME PAN WHERE YOU COOKED THE PANCETTA AND ONIONS. TOSS THE ZUCCHINI FOR ABOUT A MINUTE IN THE PAN. SALT AND PEPPER. ADD THE PASTA, 1/2 CUP OF PASTA WATER, PANCETTA AND ONIONS. CONTINUE TO COOK FOR ANOTHER 30 SECONDS TURNING CONTINUOUSLY UNTIL ALL THE INGREDIENTS ARE MIXED TOGETHER. ADD MORE PASTA WATER IF NECESSARY. ADD A COUPLE OF TBSPS OF PARMESAN. PUT THE PASTA IN A WARM BOWL, SCATTER WITH ROUGHLY CHOPPED PARSLEY AND SERVE WITH MORE PARMESAN ON THE SIDE.

SERVES 4

BUCATINI WITH PANCETTA, ONIONS AND ZUCCHINI
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