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Cantaloupe and Pancetta Cream Sauce for Pasta

This recipe sent from CSA member Michelle Kelts.  I know it might be a little late for this season. I think it might be worth having in your own “farm to table” cookbook collection.

Cantaloupe and Pancetta Cream Sauce for Pasta
From Emeril Lagasse’s Farm to Fork Cookbook

Author’s note: I know, I know.  This sounds crazy right? Well you just have to trust me on this one.  The cantaloupe breaks down to form the backbone of a sweet creamy sauce scented with pancetta and marjoram.  A sleeper but a keeper for sure.

 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
 2 ounces sliced pancetta, diced
 ¼ cup minced shallot
 3 cups ripe cantaloupe
 ½ cup heavy cream
 ½ tsp. salt
 ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
 1 tsp. minced fresh marjoram
 8 ounces spaghetti, linguini or fettuccine
 ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Heat 1 Tbsp. of butter in large sauté pan or Dutch over medium-high  heat.  Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until it is  crisp and has rendered most of its fat, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the  shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the remaining 2 Tb butter, and when it has melted, add the melon.  Cook,  stirring frequently, until the melon completely breaks down and forms  a smooth, thick sauce, 8 to 10 min.

Add the heavy cream, salt, pepper and marjoram, and cook until the cream has reduced by half and the sauce has a smooth, thick consistency that coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.

Remove  sauce from the heat.

Add pasta to boiling water, stir well, and cook until al dente (about 10 min).  Drain well, reserving ½ cup of pasta cooking water. Add the hot pasta and ¼ cup of the parmesan to the warm sauce and heated through.  Should the sauce seem too thick, add a bit of the  pasta cooking water to help toss the pasta and thin the sauce. Serve the pasta immediately, garnished with the remaining Parmesan cheese and with freshly ground black pepper.

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