Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta and Ricota Salata


We first made this recipe back in 2012 and it received a Very Good rating. My note said that it was the first time I had pancetta and went crazy over it. lol DH made it tonight for a real nice summer dinner.

Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta and Ricota Salata
4 servings

2 oz. thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon)
4 oz. orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta)
Kosher salt
3 1/2 TB. extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 TB. Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 cups diced peeled melon (any variety)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint, divided
3 TB. thinly sliced scallion
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
1 oz. ricotta salata (salted dry ricotta), shaved or crumbled feta

Heat oven to 350F. Arrange pancetta in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until brown and crisp, 20-25 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 the 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.

Source: Bon Appetit mag. August 2012