ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Food and Cooking»
  • Cooking Ingredients

Pasta with Pancetta, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Vinegar

Updated on August 4, 2012
My inspiration. Bacon Wrapped Dates.
My inspiration. Bacon Wrapped Dates. | Source

One of my son's favorite snacks is bacon wrapped dates, stuffed with blue cheese, and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. It sounds fancy but, really, when you think about it, anything wrapped in bacon is good. I think the appetizer has been around for quite awhile but the first time I actually experienced it was in a little gem tucked away in Salem, Oregon called J James Restaurant. He prepared his appetizer with figs and it was sweet, salty, gooey, and the perfect way to get a nice meal started. I have never been able to find figs in my area. We have moved from Oregon to Idaho and, still, no figs. Apparently, figs can be found in California. I never knew that, though, and missed an opportunity to buy some on my recent trip there. Dates have a similar texture and sweetness to figs and they are readily available any supermarket so, I just use them in my version of the appetizer.

Trying to come up with creative meals is a daily challenge for me. A few weeks ago, I was strolling through Fred Meyer, a local grocery store, and got the idea to make a pasta using the same flavor profile as the bacon wrapped dates appetizer. I substituted pancetta for the bacon because it is less greasy and goat cheese for the blue cheese because, well, I had a lot of goat cheese in my refrigerator and it needed to be eaten. It was a bit hit with the family and is now on my regular menu.


Please rate this recipe

Cast your vote for Pasta with Pancetta, Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar

Pasta with Pancetta, Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar

Making pasta isn't like baking bread. You don't need to be precise. If you want more or less of any ingredient, feel free to make changes. I love pasta dishes because I can just dump things together and it always turns out tasty. Cheese is my downfall. I would probably weigh 125 pounds if it weren't for my love affair with cheese. You can certainly reduce the calories by decreasing the cheese. But, really, why? It's just so darn delicious!

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: Serves 6


  • 16 oz (or so) penne pasta
  • 1 cup onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pancetta, chopped
  • 9 (Why 9? I just like 9.) dates, seeded and chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 8 oz
Calories 316
Calories from Fat216
% Daily Value *
Fat 24 g37%
Saturated fat 9 g45%
Unsaturated fat 7 g
Carbohydrates 12 g4%
Sugar 8 g
Fiber 2 g8%
Protein 14 g28%
Cholesterol 40 mg13%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Drop in pasta and cook for 9 minutes or until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, drizzle extra virgin olive oil over a large pan and heat on medium. When heated, throw in your onions. Sprinkle with salt and allow to cook until tender.
  3. Add in pancetta and saute until it is crispy and aromatic.
  4. Add dates and stir until heated through.
  5. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, drain pasta and toss it in the pan with the pancetta, onions and dates along with the pasta water. Stir to heat through.
  6. Sprinkle in the goat cheese and stir to coat the pasta. If it seems to dry, pour in some more extra virgin olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Pour pasta into a bowl and drizzle a good balsamic vinegar over the top. Be careful not to pour too much on, balsamic vinegar is potent. You really only need about a tablespoon or so.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

If you ever want to try making the bacon-wrapped dates at home here is the recipe. Slice down the middle of a date and remove the seed. Insert blue cheese into the seed cavity. Wrap a small slice of very thin, cheap bacon around the date. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet seem side down. Repeat for the number of dates you would like to make. Place in a pre-heated, oven set on broil and bake until the bacon is crisp. This will take about 5 minutes or so. Meanwhile, pour some balsalmic vinegar into a pan over medium heat. Cook until reduced by half. Remove the dates from the oven, drizzle with the balsamic reduction and enjoy. These are sticky so I recommend using a toothpick to pick them up.

On a sad note, I see that J James Restaurant is now permanently closed. I am sorry to see that we will no longer be able to enjoy their wonderful dishes when we visit Salem.

©Denise Mai, June 30, 2012. All rights reserved.

Follow me on Twitter! @denise_mai

Where to find fresh figs.

show route and directions
A marker600 West Shaw Ave Fresno, CA -
600 W Shaw Ave, Fresno, CA 93704, USA
get directions

California Fresh Fig Growers Association

B markerCoeur d'Alene ID -
Coeur d'Alene, ID, USA
get directions



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • denisemai profile image

      Denise Mai 5 years ago from Idaho

      Prunes would be good. Thanks for the tip!

    • Darrylmdavis profile image

      Darrylmdavis 5 years ago from Brussels, Belgium

      Belgians have a popular cocktail munchy similar to the bacon-wrapped dates except they use prunes. Try it with a twist of white pepper :-)

    • denisemai profile image

      Denise Mai 5 years ago from Idaho

      How funny that you said that. I wanted to use figs but they are seldom available in North Idaho. Dates and figs seem to be exchangeable to me. You're so lucky to have them! Thanks for sharing. You are so kind. :)

    • Letitialicious profile image

      Letitialicious 5 years ago from Paris via San Diego

      Hey, I can totally see how this would work with figs! I may try it with fresh figs while they're still in season, then move on to dates. Your photo is fantastic. Voted up and shared (from my subdomain LetitiaFT where I have more followers...).

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Delicious recipe and something really different, though can't imagine dates in a pasta sauce. I will try it though. Thanks!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)