This recipe is from Veronica Girard’s book, “Cooking for Family, From My Nana to Your Table.” Veronica wrote the book in honor of her Italian heritage and as a way to give encouragement to those going through cancer treatments. When Veronica was 18 months old, she was diagnosed with cancer, with a 50 percent chance of survival. Throughout her treatments, her mom’s and grandma’s Italian cooking helped keep her nourished, and she credits good food to her survival.
Nona Villone’s Cappinetti is Veronica’s grandma’s recipe. Nona means grandmother in Italian. Cappinetti is simply a word her grandma made up for the recipe. As her grandparents grew up poor, it was important for Nona to not waste any food, which is why bacon grease is kept in the recipe.
Nona Villone’s Cappinetti
1 pound cooked pancetta or bacon (reserve grease)
2-3 small Vidalia onions, peeled and roughly chopped
4 scallions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Sea salt, cracked black pepper to taste
Homemade egg noodles or noodles of your choice
Fresh or frozen peas, optional
Parmesan cheese, grated
Cook pancetta or bacon until crisp.
In a small sauté pan, caramelize onions by cooking onions with 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil, scraping residue from pan. Add smashed garlic late in the process.
When noodles are cooked, drain the water. Add 1-2 tablespoons of reserved bacon grease or olive oil to prevent noodles from drying out.
Break up the pancetta/bacon to crumbles. Add crumbles, scallions and caramelized onion/garlic to the pasta. Add cooked peas if desired, incorporating throughout the pasta. Top with grated parmesan cheese. Season to taste. ♦