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Farm Market Penne with Crisp Pancetta, Zucchini and Corn


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Kosher salt

5 Tbs. olive oil

8 slices pancetta (about 4 oz.), cut into strips

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)

1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced

2 small zucchini (about 3/4 lb.), trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces

2 ears corn, shucked and kernels sliced off (about 1 cup), or 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint

1/2 of a 500 gm package of penne

2 tsp. sherry vinegar or cider vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, put the pancetta in a large (12-inch) skillet, place over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta browns in places and becomes crisp, about 5 minutes. Add some olive oil if it’s sticking to the pan. Transfer the pancetta to a large plate lined with paper towels.

Add 1 Tbs. oil, onion and thinly sliced garlic to the skillet, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens completely and turns light brown, about 6 minutes; add 1 or 2 Tbs. water to the skillet if the onion starts to stick or burn. Add the zucchini and corn, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt, and cook, tossing occasionally, until the zucchini becomes tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half the Parmesan and all the mint.

Add the penne to the pot of boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Add the pasta, the remaining 2 Tbs. oil, the vinegar, and 1 tsp. black pepper to the skillet with the zucchini and corn mixture. Set the skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute so the pasta mixes with the vegetables. Add the reserved pasta water and stir. Serve sprinkled with the crisp pancetta and the remaining Parmesan cheese.