Giuseppe’s mom made us pasta con pancetta e zucchini during our visit to Calabria in 2019. Although we visit 1-2 times per year we don’t usually repeat recipes. Some exceptions for repeat recipes are seppie fritte (fried cuttlefish), parmigiana, pizza, and patate e peperoni (duh). She absolutely loves to cook and if we’re being honest she does most of the cooking during our visits. Which is not only delicious but incredibly helpful considering we work 14 hours per day during harvest. It’s always a treat to come back during lunch or dinner and be able to enjoy a comforting plate of pasta con pancetta e zucchine.
Calabria has hundreds of miles of coastline so naturally seafood is on the menu several times per week. However, Calabrians also eat a ton of pork and zucchini. The region has an extensive mountainous terrain creating an ideal climate for certain livestock and vegetables. So although Giuseppe’s mom’s specialties are seafood, parmigiana, potatoes, and mushrooms she enjoys (and is well versed) in making dishes like pasta con pancetta e zucchini.
Regardless of the why, we are happy to be able to recreate this dish in the U.S. because you really only need a handful of ingredients: pancetta (or bacon), zucchini, and pasta (optional parmigiano reggiano). We know it’s difficult to get pancetta (and guanciale) in the U.S. so it’s okay to substitute with bacon. Let’s get cooking!