14 May 2011

Pasta with Salsa Cruda and Pancetta

At the request of my dear friend Katy, I am posting this easy, yet super tasty, recipe.  It was inspired by a similar recipe on www.epicurious.com, but as always, we changed things around and made it our own.  We paired the pasta with a side of freshly-cut salad greens from our garden topped with a dill cucumber ranch dressing.

Yeah, iPhone pics aren't the prettiest, but this light pasta dish is sure to please.

1 package of short pasta (conchligie, orecchiette, farfelle)
1 16-oz. container of ricotta cheese
1 1/2 pounds (approx.) fresh tomatoes, chopped
chopped fresh basil and oregano (dry works, too)
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package of cubed pancetta
red pepper flakes
*freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (for topping the pasta immediately before serving)

Cook pasta as directed on the box.

Meanwhile, begin to saute pancetta in a skillet on medium heat.  After 2-3 minutes, add the shallots and garlic.  Throw in a pinch or two of red pepper flakes.  Continue to saute until everything is golden.  Pancetta may become crispy, but that's how we like it.

While everything cooks on the stove, mix all remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl (even the extra virgin olive oil--it adds a burst of flavor).  Use salt and pepper to taste.  Drain pasta before adding to the mixing bowl.  The ingredients from the skillet can go directly into the mixing bowl, too, once they are done browning.  Stir everything together until the ricotta has coated the pasta.  Portion onto plates immediately.  If using grated Parmesan, now would be the perfect time to add it to the top.

From start to finish, it probably took 30 minutes to make this entire meal, and the leftovers kept very well.


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