With Lemon Cream & Parmesan

 Gramignone is a hollow, curly pasta that works well with the lightness of this lemon-scented cream sauce.  You can find this pasta frozen fresh in specialty Italian food shops.  Multi-colored summer squash, crispy pink pancetta, flecks of parsley and freshly grated lemon zest make a beautiful presentation for this bright, fragrant dish.

INGREDIENTS                                                                                                      Serves 8
1 pound gramignone pasta, dried or fresh (gemelli or angel hair would be suitable substitutes)
1 pint heavy cream
6 ounces pancetta, small dice
1 shallot, minced
4 medium-sized summer squash, any varieties, small dice
2 lemons, zested
Extra-virgin olive oil
Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper


To make your lemon-scented cream, combine lemon zest and heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the cream from burning on the bottom, and turn off the heat.  Allow the cream and zest to steep for at least ten minutes.  Strain out the zest and reserve.

 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Tip: Your pasta water should taste as salty as the ocean.  This will flavor your pasta and help to season your sauce.  If using dried pasta, drop your pasta now to allow for ample time to cook.  When using fresh pasta, drop your pasta just before you’re ready to combine all other ingredients.

 Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and pancetta.  Cook until golden brown and crispy.  Remove and drain on paper towels. 

 Remove excess fat from pan and add the shallot, cooking over medium heat.  Add a bit more olive oil if your pan is too dry.  Sweat shallot until translucent and fragrant.  Add squash and stir to coat with oil.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cook until squash are soft but still hold a slight bite.  Return pancetta to the pan and heat through.

 Once your pasta has cooked to al dente, add it directly to the sauté pan along with the squash and pancetta.  Add lemon cream, parsley and a bit of pasta water, toss to coat and cook approximately 1 minute, or until the sauce comes together and sticks to the pasta.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

 To serve, spoon pasta into warmed individual pasta dishes.  Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of freshly grated lemon zest.  Serve warm.