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Lazy Person's Pancetta 'n' Peppers 'Deep Throat' Pasta

Lazy Person's Pancetta 'n' Peppers 'Deep Throat' Pasta
Story/recipe and photographs by Tom Weber

multi-colored bell peppers

I love BELL PEPPERS. They're so colorful just lounging around in the fresh vegetable section of my local grocery store, or on display every Thursday in the local growers' produce corner of the huge, open-air market that snakes its way from the train station to Piazza dei Signori in downtown Vicenza, Italy.

Those bright red, yellow and orange capsicums really catch your eye and easily draw you in. I'm a sucker for sweet, crunchy bell peppers and usually walk home with a few in my grocery tote.

cubed, frozen Italian pancetta

I'm also a tifoso (fan) of PANCETTA, Italy's cubed version of American strip and Canadian round bacon. Sweet or smoked, those little morsels from heaven really make a mundane dish "pop."

So, here I am, tongue hanging out, getting hungrier by the minute. I think I'll merge these two sweet-'n'-salty ingredients into a palette-pleasing sauce and sauté them with some pasta, IF I have them. Shall we have a look in the ice-a-box?

YES!

You know I pride myself in being LAZY when it comes to maneuvering around the galley, and today is no exception. Granted, I have both bell peppers and pancetta, but neither ingredient is butcher shop-green grocer fresh; however, their "use before" dates will prevent me from having to go to the pronto soccorso (hospital ER) to have my stomach pumped. That's reassuring, isn't it?

pre-packed pancetta cubes and grilled bell peppers

For this culinary exercise, I'm relying on packaged roasted pepperoni (bell peppers) and pancetta cubes that I bought at my local grocery store. It's the quick and easy way to get this mouth-watering pasta dish plated in under 15-minutes.

Watergate Office Complex, Washington D.C.
Watergate Office Complex, Washington D.C. –
Photo in the public domain courtesy Wikipedia Commons

Now, what am I doing including "Deep Throat" in this recipe? First of all, the late Linda Lovelace -- the porn star who made the expression part of the American lexicon -- has absolutely NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS. And neither do former Washington Post investigative reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the two scribes that uncovered all the seedy details surrounding the Watergate Break-In of 1972 and the scandal that eventually sent Richard Nixon packing from the White House in 1974. It was the two young reporters dogged pursuit of the truth, along with a "little" help from the late William "Deep Throat" Felt, Sr., the Deputy Director of the FBI at the time, that blew the roof off of 1600 Pennsylvania NW.

Garganelli pasta

No, the "Deep Throat" in our little culinary caper is the pasta we're using, Garganelli. It's an egg-based semolina pasta quite popular in the Emilia-Romagna region of Central Italy, especially around Bologna.

Garganelli is the diminutive of gargenei, the regional dialect word used to describe the esophagus tube at the DEEP end of a chicken's THROAT. Hey, Italian cooks don't throw away ANYTHING.

Now, if you'll hand me my trench coat and Foster Grants, I'll get this "scandalous" recipe underway.

__________________________________

LAZY PERSON'S PANCETTA 'n' PEPPERS "DEEP THROAT" PASTA

Ingredients (for 2)

  • 100 gr (3.5 oz) Cubed Pancetta
  • 125 gr (4.4 oz) Sliced Grilled Bell Peppers (red, yellow and orange, but NO green)
  • 100 gr (3.5 oz) Garganelli Pasta
  • 15 gr (1 tbsp) Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano Cheese
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1.25 gr (1/4 tsp) Garlic Powder (optional)
  • 1.25 gr (1/4 tsp) Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • 20 gr (1 tbspn) Sea Salt (for pasta water)

__________________________________

Step-1: Fill medium pot with water, cover and place on HIGH heat to begin the boiling process

covered pot of water on stove

Step-2: Remove from package the Grilled Bell Pepper sections and roughly slice into bite-size pieces

sliced bell peppers

Step-3: Add Virgin Olive Oil to coat the skillet, set on MEDIUM heat. Add the optional Garlic Powder and Crushed Red Pepper and stir for 30-45 seconds

virgin olive oil heating on skillet

Step-4: Add the Pancetta and let it cook until medium crisp - about 4-5 minutes - stirring frequently

pancetta cooking in skillet

Step-5: Midway through Step-4, add the cut Grilled Bell Pepper pieces and continue stirring for the remaining 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and wait for the water to come to a boil

grilled bell pepper added to pancetta

Step-6: Water is now ready. Uncover the pot, add the salt and then the Garganelli pasta. Stir vigorously for 30-seconds, let boil for 7-8 min. or until al dente

Garganelli pasta in boiling water

Step-7: At the 8-min. mark of cooking the pasta, remove 2 tablespoons of the salty water and add to the Pancetta-Bell Pepper mixture in the skillet.

Pancetta-Bell Pepper mix

Step-8: Drain the pasta and fold into the skillet with the Pancetta-Bell Pepper mix. Turn skillet on MEDIUM heat and mix continuously.

pasta added to Pancetta-Bell Pepper mix

Step-9: Remove from heat, plate, top with freshly grated cheese, and serve with black-olive artisan bread.

parmigiano cheese, grated cheese on pasta and finished Pancetta 'n' Peppers 'Deep Throat' Pasta

__________________________________

Recommend Wine Pairing: Arquata Montefalcone Rosso DOC - Bottled by Azienda Agricola Adanti, Bevagna (PG) Italy - A robust red that is a rich garnet color, this Montefalcone Rosso is a complex blend of five different grapes: Sangiovese, the rare Sagratino, Barbera, Cabernet and Merlot (5%).

Aged for one year in oak barrels and nearly an additional year in the bottle before heading to market, Montefalcone Rosso's flavor is intense and persistent, but smooth. On the tongue you'll taste licorice and cumin. The bouquet hints of forest underbrush, along with dried wild cherries, plums and a dash of cinnamon. For the full review, go to our GOOD WINES section.

Arquata Montefalcone Rosso DOC goes well with pastas in meat sauces, chicken, pork, boiled meats, polenta and soft Italian cheeses like Fontina, Taleggio and Marcite, a cheese unique to Norcia.

Arquata Montefalcone Rosso DOC and Pancetta 'n' Peppers 'Deep Throat' Pasta

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Hi Audrey,

Love your lamb shanks.

--- Paul, Scottsdale AZ

Haven't been called Tad for . . .gee, maybe I've NEVER been called Tad . . . guess I'm the only one with chutzpah enough to mention Bourdain. BRILLIANT?

--- Ken, Shutesbury, MA

I think we must have had an entirely different experience in the UK. (Fresh Food and Real Ale – week 1). We were up in Edinburgh and they served something called ‘Neeps & Tatties.’ The items were boiled so long that I couldn’t even recognize what I was eating. Come to think of it… I couldn’t taste them either. Later I found that Neeps’ are Turnips and ‘Tatties’ are potatoes.

--- Lindy, Phoenix, AZ

My mouth was watering as I read some of your descriptions of the fantastic fare of ... England? I had always felt smug about the lowly reputation of British cuisine as this gave us at least one country with a worse culinary reputation than America's. I guess I'll have to change my views. Your article made me actually want to take a CULINARY tour of Britain. Yummy yummy yummy.

--- Sandy Miner, Portland, OR

Thanks for your note. Thanks to Traveling Boy I get to interview a world famous chef this week who is widely recognized as spearheading the Yummy movement in Ireland. Guess I'll have to take yet another culinary tour a little further north and check it out... (I love my job!) --- Audrey

Very interesting, mouth-watering piece by Audrey! (A McDreamy McMeel). Your web site is fascinating!

--- Susie, Victoria, BC

Combining travel, food, and intelligent advice -- BRILLIANT! Your site fills a long-felt need for hungry roamers. Keep it up! It's Anthony Bourdain with reservations and CLASS.

--- Tad, Boston, MA


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