This pasta gets so much flavor from the bacon and sweet onion that it doesn't need much else. You could add freshly ground black pepper for contrast.
Make Ahead: The bacon, zucchini and onion can be cut up, wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 24 hours before preparing. The dish should be made just before serving.
- Salt, for the cooking water, plus 1/8 teaspoon for the zucchini
- 8 ounces dried shell pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounces (about 4 thick slices) applewood smoked bacon (preferably nitrate-free), cut into 1/4 inch-wide, 1-inch-long matchsticks
- 1 medium onion, preferably sweet, such as Vidalia or Mayan, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice (1 cup)
- 1 pound zucchini, preferably 4 small ones, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet or shallow braising pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring, until the pieces start to render their fat but have not yet browned. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pieces soften.
Add the zucchini and the 1/8 teaspoon salt and stir to incorporate; cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender. Add pepper to taste.
Combine the cooked and drained pasta with the vegetable mixture in a large serving bowl, preferably warmed. Serve warm, with Parmesan cheese for passing at the table.
From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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