Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta, and Ricotta Salata

Not really hearty enough for a meal, but a nice (non-vegetarian) pasta salad to bring to a party or have as a side dish. Courtsey of Bon Appetit, but slightly modified.

Ingredients

2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon)
4 ounces orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, or rice vinegar
1 1/2 cups 3/4" square diced pieces peeled cantaloupe
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper
2 ounces ricotta salata (salted dry ricotta), cubed, or crumbled feta

Preparation

Heat oven to 350°. Arrange pancetta in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until brown and crisp, 20–25 minutes. (Alternatively, place pancetta on folded layers of paper towels on a microwave-proof plate and microwave on high until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes.) Let pancetta stand until cool enough to handle, then break into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a medium pot of boiling salted water with small bit of oil, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta; run under cold water to cool. Drain. Add pancetta, cooked pasta, melon, mint, scallion, and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt, pepper, oil, and vinegar. Garnish with shaved ricotta salata.

Can be made a day ahead, although mint will lose its brightness. You also may need to add a bit more oil and vinegar just before serving.

Pasta Salad with melon, ricotta, pancetta and mint
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