Zucchine al Guanciale

Courgettes with Bacon

This dish comes from the Marche region and is traditionally made with guanciale, a local speciality, made from the pig's cheek. It is cured in just the same way as pancetta, which is the usual substitute. It has plenty of lean meat inside the fat, so smoked back bacon or possibly cubed gammon could be used. The courgettes must be young, fresh and tender for the best effect.


  • 12 small courgettes
  • salt
  • 200 g (7 oz) pancetta or smoked back bacon, cut into strips
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 50 g ( oz) chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 450 g (1 lb) canned tomatoes, seeded and chopped pepper


Scrape all the green off the courgettes and slice them lengthways into strips the size of a small finger. Put them on a deep plate and cover with salt to draw out their juices. Leave for about 3 hours.

Fry the bacon, onion, parsley and garlic together in the oil until the onion is soft. Very ripe canned tomatoes don’t contain many seeds. Just scoop out any you can see, while adding them and their juice to the pan. Give it a stir and continue to cook.

Wash and dry the courgettes and add to the pan. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes then season with a little salt and plenty of pepper. Give a final stir before serving.