Pasta Vecchia Napoli

I first tasted this pasta dish at a small trattoria just outside of Cortona over twenty years ago and found it delicious. I knew as soon as I tasted it that I would have to go home and make it in my own kitchen because it is exactly the type of recipe I love…… simple and quick to make with just a few ingredients.

Smoked pancetta may be difficult to find, but you could substitute any similar product such as smoked prosciutto (called speck), or even smoked bacon. The smokey flavor is really what gives this pasta its delicious, unique flavor so try and find a smoked product if possible. I used an artisan made pasta in this recipe but penne or rigatoni pasta would both work well also.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Pasta Vecchia Napoli

Pasta Vecchia Napoli

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

The smokey flavor of the pancetta adds a depth of flavor to this easy pasta dish.


  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
  • 1 Small to Medium Zucchini Cut Into 1/2 Inch Dice
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 6 Ounces Smoked Pancetta Cut Into 1 Inch Long Thin Sticks
  • 1 (14 Ounce) Can Pureed Tomatoes
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • 1 Pound Dried Pasta

To Serve:

  • 1/3 Cup Grated Pecorino Cheese


  1. In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil and add the pancetta.
  2. Cook until the pancetta is lightly brown and beginning to crisp.
  3. Add the onions, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent, then add the zucchini and cook until tender crisp.
  4. Next add the garlic and cook only until it begins to sizzle.
  5. Add the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper and cook for ten minutes.
  6. Add the cream and mix well, and keep the sauce warm over low heat.
  7. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until it is al dente.
  8. Drain, and toss the pasta with the sauce and fresh parsley.
  9. Serve in individual bowls offering the cheese at the table.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.