- Salt (for the cooking water, plus teaspoon or more to taste)
- 8 ounces dried penne pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounces (12 thin slices) pancetta, cut into ¼-inch dice
- 1 medium onion, preferably sweet, such as Vidalia or Mayan, cut into ¼- to ½-inch dice (1 cup)
- 1 pound zucchini, preferably 4 small ones, cut into ½-inch dice
- Leaves from 6 stems basil leaves (3 tablespoons), chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
You can use this recipe as a template, replacing the vegetable and the fresh herbs.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the penne and cook according to the package directions. Drain and hold in a colander.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large (at least 12-inch) skillet or shallow braising pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, until the pieces start to turn translucent but not brown. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pieces soften.
Add the zucchini and the teaspoon salt (or to taste) and stir to incorporate; cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender. Add 2 tablespoons of the basil and the pepper to taste.
Combine the cooked penne with the vegetable mixture in a large serving bowl, preferably warmed. Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of basil. Serve warm, with Parmesan for passing at the table.
Stephanie Witt Sedgwick