Pancetta Pasta Bake


I love baked pasta, but too often, they are overly sauced and cheesed; add the ingredients sparingly, this dish shines. When served, each element of the meal should not be overshadowed but stand on its own. Pancetta Pasta Bake fits the bill. Pancetta and ground pork are sauteed and then simmered in tomato sauce. The sauce, seasoned with smoked paprika and red pepper, is tossed with the pasta, and then ricotta and mozzarella are added. I pop the pasta into a hot oven, the top is crispy and the inside creamy and delicious. This pasta dish is so flavorful, luscious, and can be made in advance.


Ingredients for Pancetta Pasta Bake:

serves 6 with leftovers

1 pound mezzi rigatoni, cooked according to package

1 pound ground pork

1 5 ounce package diced pancetta

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

3 cups purchased tomato sauce

1- 15-ounce container of ricotta

1/2 + 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into strips or diced

Kosher salt

black pepper


Time-Saving Tips: Purchased tomato sauce is a real time saver. I always use Victoria Brand because I think it's the best.


Let's see what we need:


Now let's cook.

Add the olive oil and onion to a large pot. Saute the onions, pancetta, and oil for 5-8 minutes until the onions are translucent and the pancetta has cooked down. Add the pork, pepper, and paprika and continue cooking until the meat is no longer pink; stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Pour in the sauce and combine it with the meat mixture. Simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened.


Preheat the oven to 450-degrees. Cook the pasta while the sauce is simmering. Then add the ricotta in a few spoonfuls and a 1/2 pound of mozzarella. Gently stir, leaving some big clumps of cheese. Transfer to a casserole dish and top with the remaining 1/4 pound mozzarella. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pasta mixture is bubbling, and some of the pasta has started to brown.


It's ready! Pancetta Pasta Bake looks so good and tastes even better. The saltiness of the pancetta and creamy cheese produce a delicious and comforting meal. It's perfect for a family dinner or sharing with friends.


Enjoy!


Pancetta Pasta Bake:

serves 6 with leftovers

  • 1 pound mezzi rigatoni, cooked according to package

  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 1 5 ounce package diced pancetta

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 3 cups purchased tomato sauce

  • 1- 15-ounce container of ricotta

  • 1/2 + 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into strips or diced

  • Kosher salt

  • black pepper

  • Add the olive oil and onion to a large pot. Saute the onions, pancetta, and oil for 5-8 minutes until the onions are translucent and the pancetta has cooked down. Add the pork, pepper, and paprika and continue cooking until the meat is no longer pink; stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Pour in the sauce and combine it with the meat mixture. Simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

  • Preheat the oven to 450-degrees. Cook the pasta while the sauce is simmering. Then add the ricotta in a few spoonfuls and a 1/2 pound of mozzarella. Gently stir, leaving some big clumps of cheese. Transfer to a casserole dish and top with the remaining 1/4 pound mozzarella. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pasta mixture is bubbling, and some of the pasta has started to brown.

  • Time-Saving Tips: Purchased tomato sauce is a real time saver. I always use Victoria Brand because I think it's the best.

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