Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta, and Ricotta

Farmers Market lovers melon is officially in season so scoop it up while you can! I know I’ve been a bit of a Farmers Market and Salad hound this week but I just can’t help myself – I love finding local, in season, fruits and vegetables to whip up into recipes in my kitchen! If you like the classic combination of cantaloupe and prosciutto you will love this pasta salad! My Mom made this for me for the first time last summer and it was incredible – we just kept gobbling it up! I’ve only made it a handful of times since then but when I have it’s always been a crowd favorite! This salad hits all of your sweet and salty cravings with the sweet, succulent cantaloupe and the salty, savory pancetta.


Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta, and Ricotta
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
  • 4 ounces orecchiette (ear shaped pasta)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2½ tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups 1 inch pieces cut and peeled cantaloupe
  • ⅓ cup rough chopped fresh mint, divided
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ounce ricotta salata (salted dry ricotta) shaved, or cumbled feta
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange pancetta in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until brown and crisp, roughly 20-25 minutes. Let pancetta stand until cool enough to handle, then break into bite size pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a medium pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta; run under cold water to cool. Drain and set aside.
  3. Whisk oil and vinegar in a large bowl. Add half of pancetta, cooked pasta, melon, half of mint, scallions, and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish sprinkle remaining pancetta and mint over. Garnish with shaved ricotta salata (or crumbled feta).