Recipe courtesy of Chef Ida Shen of the University of California, Berkeley, serves this traditional pairing of melon and pancetta mixed into pasta for a unique presentation.
4 pounds orecchiette
6 pounds fresh ripe, but firm melon, such as Ambrosia, Crenshaw, or Persian
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds diced pancetta or prosciutto
1 1/2 quart heavy cream
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh basil or mint
as needed salt
as needed freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pound grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- Cook the Barilla pasta until just short of al dente. Drain pasta and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent from sticking.
- Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller or walk-in fridge. Store in zip lock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.
- Cut the melon into medium dice (1/2 by ½ inch). For each serving, to order: Melt ½ tsp butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook 1 oz pancetta until crisp. Add 4 oz melon dice and heat for 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup cream, about 1 Tbsp herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Stir in ¼ cup cheese and 1 1/3 cup pasta. Stir and heat until warm through.
- Plate and garnish with additional cheese or herbs.