Creamy Zucchini Linguine.
With Pancetta….but that doesn’t rhyme.
No, I’m not having my own personal Zucchini Festival over here. Even though I’ve recently posted a recipe for Zucchini Pineapple Bread, this pasta was too good not to share right away.
Besides, it’s zucchini time.
By the way, my friend Tim tells me that if you have a zucchini that hides in the garden until it is HUGE, this Italian Sausage Stuffed Eggplant recipe also works great for stuffed zucchini.
So I guess it IS somewhat of a Zucchini Festival after all.
To say that this is a quick and easy recipe is an understatement. The whole recipe comes together in the time it takes to boil water and cook the pasta.
Here’s what you need:
Pancetta*, Zucchini, Linguine, Pecorino Romano Cheese, White Wine, Olive Oil, Butter, Red Pepper Flakes, and Pepper.
Pancetta is basically Italian bacon. It’s cured but not smoked so regular American bacon isn’t really a substitute for the authentic Pancetta flavor. It’s a lot drier than regular American bacon and has little peppercorns throughout it as well.
It’s delicious and easy to find in most stores. I bought mine at the deli counter of my regular old grocery store. You need 1/4 pound for this recipe so I asked for 2 slices between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.
I mentioned earlier that this is an extremely quick cooking recipe. Cooking the pasta takes the longest so start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.
While you wait for the water to boil, prep the other ingredients.
Dice the zucchini into small cubes. I’m using 5 small zucchini but you can judge whatever size zucs you have to eventually come out with about 4 cups diced.
Dice the pancetta into small cubes similar in size to the zucchini.
Grate 1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese.
Pancetta doesn’t have as much fat to render off as bacon so to help it brown (and also to make the pasta sauce), melt 1 Tablespoon of Butter and 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil in a large pan.
If you can, choose a pan large enough to accommodate all of the ingredients including the cooked pasta.
Add the pancetta to the melted butter and cook over medium high heat 3-4 minutes until browned but not crispy.
By this time the pasta water should be boiling. Add some salt and 1/2 pound of linguine. The pasta only needs to cook for 7-8 minutes to be al dente.
When the Pancetta is showing a little color, add the zucchini to the pan.
Cook the zucchini for 2-3 minutes over medium high heat until just starting to brown and soften then add 1/2 cup white wine.
Season with pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. I don’t salt this dish because for my taste the pancetta and cheese are salty enough.
Cook the zucchini, pancetta and wine 2-3 minutes until the wine has slightly reduced. Be careful not to over cook the zucchini – it can get mushy very quickly.
Check in on the pasta…it should almost be ready to go.
Add 1/2 cup heavy cream to the zucchini pan and turn the heat down to low.
Dip the al dente linguine out of the pot and directly into the zucchini pan.
Add the Romano cheese and toss all the ingredients together.
If your sauce is too thick to easily coat the pasta – and mine almost always is – add 1/4 cup of the starchy, pasta cooking water.
Gently combine the pasta with the vegetables and then pour everything into a large serving bowl.
As you can see, I like a big zucchini to pasta ratio. This makes 4 moderate portions…fine if you’re also having salad and/or garlic bread. If you want more pasta, you can easily increase the linguine to a whole pound. You might need just a bit more wine and cream but that’s not really a problem.
Let the Zucchini Festival Begin!
Here’s the recipe: