|Fresh tortellacci served with radicchio, parmesan and cream. Photo.|
|Osteria del Montesino, Bologna; Via del Pratello 74. Photo.|
For 7€, you get your of pick the pasta made that day. We both went for the penne alla zucca -- pasta dressed in a slippery mix of roasted squash, grated parmigiano and pan-frizzled pancetta. Our meal was so good that we couldn't help but ask the chef how to make it -- 1) roast squash, 2) stir with cheese and pancetta, 3) toss and 4) serve. Roasting the squash brings out the gourd's sweet taste -- a sugary note balanced by the savoriness of the salt-cured pork.
- 8 oz. penne or rigatoni,cooked al dente
- 1 - 1.5 cups of parmigiano, fresh grated
- 4 oz pancetta, cubed (optional)
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- 1 - 1.5 lbs butternut squash
- 1 onion, rough diced
|Photo from: http://fabioc.it/|
About 20 minutes into the cook time of the squash, frizzle the pancetta cubes over medium heat in a large and flat skillet. Cook until the pancetta has begun to brown and the pork fat has started to render. Add the diced onion to the pan-fried pancetta, stirring. When the onion has turned translucent and the cubes are browned, turn off the heat. Keep the onion and pancetta in the skillet.
Take the squash pieces out of the oven and let them cool, unwrapped, for 2-3 min. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente. Remove the boiled pasta with a slotted spoon, reserving at least 1 cup of the hot and starchy water. Scoop out the squash pulp and mix it in the pan with the pancetta and onion. At this point, return the skillet to medium-low heat.
Stir squash, pancetta and parmigiano together until a uniform and creamy mix has formed. The cheese will melt and blend together with the softened pulp. Season to taste with fresh ground black pepper.