Summer Melon, Mint and Pancetta Pasta Salad

Greetings all and THANK YOU for stopping by; patience is a virtue and Leggy Cooks fans have it in spades.  Todays recipe is for a delicious and unique pasta salad that takes advantage of summer and early fall produce. I dug up the recipe while going through my veritable mountain of bon appetite magazines in a failed attempt to pair down my collection (I only managed to throw out three issues). On the plus side I became reacquainted with recipes that I had long since shelved including this one which is so good!

Unlike traditional pasta salads that rely heavily on vinegar, oil, and pickled vegetables this recipe is bursting with fresh ingredients. Sweet cantaloupe, fresh mint and salty pancetta go together like PB&J and the finishing addition of ricotta salata and a salt and pepper make this the perfect dish for a picnic or fabulous midweek meal.

If you’re in the mood for fast, fresh and delicious meal look no further.

Dinner is ready! Dinner is ready!

Pasta salad with Melon,  Pancetta, and Ricotta Salata 

Adapted from Bon Appetite, August 2012

2 oz. thinly sliced pancetta (soppresatta, prosciotto, or salami) work equally well )

6 oz. orechiette

Kosher salt

3.5 TBLS extra virgin olive oil

2.5 TBLS champagne vinegar or white wine viengar

2 cups peeled and cubed melon; any type works well. (I like to chose a melon whose color will stand out against the rest of the dish such as watermelon or cantaloupe)

1/3 cup coarsely hopped fresh mint

3 TBLS thinly sliced scallion

1 -2 oz. ricotta salata or feta

Place pancetta on a paper towel in a microwave safe dish and microwave until crispy and brown about 5 minuets. Check on your pancetta about halfway through cooking to make sure you don’t burn it. once cooled tear or chop into bite sized strips.

Cook pasta until al dente then promptly drain and rinse in cold water. Whisk oil and vinegar together in a large bowl then add half of the pancetta, half of the mint, the pasta, scallion, and melon and toss to coat. Season with salt pepper and red pepper flakes then transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle remaining mint, pancetta and garnish with ricotta salata.