This sounds like a great idea at any time of the year, but especially so these days, when many people have leftover holiday ham and other forms of pork in their fridge.
Ari Weinzweig (he of Ann Arbor, Michigan's Zingerman's deli, bakery, restaurant, cheese emporium, etc.), writing in the Atlantic's food blog, recalls a centuries old trick for making pasta better.
"All you have to do is stick a piece of pork rind or pancetta into your pasta cooking water," he says. "It really does give the pasta a nice bit of added flavor, and it as it did five hundred years ago and still today, can be done for very little cost. It's great way to use up ham bones or prosciutto rinds."
Do that, drain the pasta, then just finish it of with a bit of olive oil and some grated cheese, such as Parmigiano or Pecorino, and you've got a simple yet tasty dish that is elevated by the inclusion of the pork.
I'm looking forward to trying this out, as well as asking the butcher for some pork rind.