Lazy Person's Pancetta
'n' Peppers 'Deep Throat' Pasta
Story/recipe and photographs by Tom Weber
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.
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
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?
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?
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.
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.
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
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
Step-2: Remove from package the Grilled Bell
Pepper sections and roughly slice into bite-size pieces
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
Step-4: Add the Pancetta and let
it cook until medium crisp - about 4-5 minutes - stirring frequently
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
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
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.
Step-8: Drain the pasta and fold into the skillet
with the Pancetta-Bell Pepper mix. Turn skillet on MEDIUM heat and mix
Step-9: Remove from heat, plate, top with freshly
grated cheese, and serve with black-olive artisan bread.
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.