In honor of National Watermelon Day we wanted to share our Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta and Feta! It is also National Simplify Your Life Week so this recipe certainly fell into the simple category as well!
I'll admit we were a little skeptical about this recipe at first. I am not a melon fan and Alex just didn't know what it would taste like with the other ingredients thrown in the mix. Turns out this was one of the most flavorful pasta salads we have ever made!!!
This pasta is a great party dish for those hot summer BBQ's!
- 2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon)
- 4 ounces orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta)
- Kosher salt
- 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 2 cups 1x1x1/4" pieces peeled melon (any variety)
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint, divided
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (we used a fresh Cayenne Pepper)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ounce ricotta salata (salted dry ricotta), shaved, or crumbled feta
Heat oven to 350°. Arrange pancetta in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until brown and crisp, 20–25 minutes. (Alternatively, place pancetta on folded layers of paper towels on a microwave-proof plate and microwave on high until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes.) Let pancetta stand until cool enough to handle, then break into bite-size pieces.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a medium pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta; run under cold water to cool. Drain and set aside.
Whisk oil and vinegar in a large bowl. Add half of pancetta, cooked pasta, melon, half of mint, scallion, and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle remaining pancetta and mint over. Garnish with shaved ricotta salata or feta.
Happy Watermelon Day Everybody!!!