Who knew Italians love bacon (pancetta) as much as we do? This is pure comfort food, and it is a quick and easy solution for a satisfying dinner using simple ingredients.

Serves 4 to 6


WNK-Italy on a Plate Cookbook cover Italy on a Plate: Travels, Memories, Menus Susan Gravely
  • 4½ tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and gently crushed

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

  • 10 slices (about ¾ pound) pancetta, or bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • Salt for the pasta pot

  • 1 pound penne pasta

  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the whole garlic cloves and cook until deep brown, about 5 minutes. Remove garlic cloves and add the rosemary. Stir once or twice and immediately add the pancetta. Cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until crisp. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the pancetta drippings. Remove from the heat and set the skillet with the cooked pancetta aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions, then drain in a colander and toss with the sauce in the skillet over medium-low heat. Add the remaining 1½ tablespoons butter and toss the pasta with the cheese until the butter has melted. Serve immediately

Reprinted from Italy on a Plate: Travels, Memories, Menus by Susan Gravely, published by VIETRI. Text copyright © 2023, photographs copyright © 2023 Felicia Trujillo

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