Creamy Cantaloupe and Guanciale Pasta

Creamy Cantaloupe and Guanciale Pasta

Happy Friday, y’all! This week seems to have flown by for me. I feel like I blinked and all of a sudden it’s Friday and the weekend is here! Not complaining or anything…

sauteeing cantaloupe

This also means the week of celebrating summer produce is concluding (not that I won’t be blogging anymore summer produce dishes – that’s hardly the case!) We began the week with blueberries, then featured cherry tomatoes, corn, and zucchini. What’s today? Cantaloupe!!

cooking cantaloupe pasta

This is a more unusual preparation of the sweet melon. I usually associate it with desserts, drinks, or just sliced and eaten. I can’t say I’ve ever associated it with pasta. But when I found this recipe for cantaloupe pasta sauce, I knew I had to try it.

creamy cantaloupe and guanciale pasta

I also got to try a new ingredient (well, new to me anyway): guanciale! Guanciale (pronounced gwan-cha-lay) is cured pork jowls; you can find it at your grocery store’s deli section, and it looks a lot like bacon. The original recipe said to use pancetta, which would work perfectly fine if you would prefer that. But when I saw guanciale, I knew I had to sub that in.

bowl of cantaloupe and guanciale pasta

I’m glad I did. We both LOVED it! The sweet cantaloupe is a natural pair with the salty, crispy pork, and they meld together beautifully. Then the cream is stirred in, and its thickness envelopes the pasta strands and brings the whole dish together. It’s silky, salty and pleasantly sweet. Try it, you’ll see.

Creamy Cantaloupe and Guanciale Pasta

Happy weekend everyone! Stay safe, eat well, and have fun!

{One year ago: Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Salsa}

Source: adapted from Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh by Emeril Lagasse

3 tbs unsalted butter, divided
3 oz. guanciale or pancetta, diced
¼ cup minced shallot
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups diced cantaloupe (from 1 medium-sized melon)
½ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp minced fresh marjoram leaves
8 oz. linguine, or other long-cut pasta
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously.
Heat 1 tbs butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the guanciale or pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until it is crisp and has rendered most of its fat, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
Add the shallot and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tbs butter and when it has melted, add the cantaloupe. Cook, stirring frequently, until the melon softens and somewhat breaks down. You can help it along with a potato masher. This will take about 10 minutes.
Add the heavy cream, salt, pepper, and marjoram. Cook until the cream has reduced by half and the sauce is thickened and creamy, about 3 minutes. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon. Remove the sauce from the heat.
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain well, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
Add the hot pasta water and ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese to the warm sauce. Return the pan to medium heat, and toss the pasta with the sauce until nicely coated. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little more pasta water until it’s to your desired consistency.
Serve immediately with the remaining cheese to pass at the table.

3 responses to “Creamy Cantaloupe and Guanciale Pasta

  1. Cantaloupe and pig cheeks? Why not!
    Thanks Julie–I never would have paired these two together, but now that I’ve seen it, I can see why you like it.

    • Texan New Yorker

      Thanks! It was very good, which I suppose makes sense since you always see cantaloupe and prosciutto paired together.

  2. Pingback: Pepperoni Pizza Toasties | The Texan New Yorker

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