There are so few dishes that can compete with a comforting bowl of pasta. It’s why pasta dinners are so popular in my home and in many others’. One pasta recipe that I make regularly is this simple pasta and peas with pancetta. Sounds indulgent, right? I keep it a bit on the lighter side with a secret sauce.
I love all sorts of pasta sauces, but if there is one I favor, it is agolio e olio. It is basically a sauce of garlic and extra virgin olive oil, the simplest of all Italian sauces.
Agolio e olio is pretty much the base of my popular Mediterranean olive oil pasta. But, we go a bit further by adding a whole bunch of parsley and a few Mediterranean toppings like tomatoes, olives, artichokes, etc. The result is a must-try thing of beauty, in my opinion.
Pasta and peas is another love of mine. But often enough, pasta and peas recipes call for heavier, cream-based sauces. I figured, we can shake things up a bit here.
Why this pasta and peas recipe works?
In this bright pasta and peas recipe, we skip the heavier sauces again in favor of agolio e olio–garlic and olive oil (quality extra virgin olive oil makes all the difference.)
Not to worry, we build just enough of that “comfort factor” by using pancetta or bacon bits and a little bit of grated Parmesan cheese. Note, if you’re looking for more of a smokier flavor, you should opt for bacon bits over pancetta.
Perhaps the one surprising flavor maker in this peas and pasta recipe is Aleppo pepper.
Aleppo has become my secret weapon. Also known as Halaby pepper, Aleppo pepper is a milder pepper of fruity, tangy chili flakes. It very spicy, Aleppo still provides some heat, giving off sweetness akin to the best kind of sundried tomatoes. I’ve been experimenting more with it, and I think it’s perfect in pasta dishes like this pasta and peas.
What to serve with this pasta and peas?
For a lighter spring dinner, this pasta and peas is plenty for my family of four. We do often start with a salad like this avocado salad or balela salad. But if you’re looking to use it as a side dish, you can add pan-seared salmon; breaded chicken; or this Mediterranean grilled chicken.Print
Simple, bright, and flavor-packed pasta with peas and pancetta. Tossed in a garlic and olive oil sauce with fresh parsely and a little grated Parmesan cheese.
- 3/4 lb thin spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)
- Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 4-oz cubed pancetta (you can use bacon cut into bits, if you like)
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 cups frozen peas, thawed (or fresh peas)
- 8 large garlic cloves, minced
- Black pepper
- 2 tsp Aleppo pepper, divided
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped (2 to 3 cups packed chopped parsley)
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- Grated Parmesan cheese, to your liking
- Cook pasta to al dante in plenty of salted boiling water, consult package for instructions. Be sure to add a splash of extra virgin olive oil to the cooking water. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water aside, then drain pasta (some of the starchy pasta water will serve as sauce later)
- Meanwhile, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta (or bacon) and cook, tossing regularly, until fully cooked and browned. Remove pancetta onto a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Carefully dispose of most of the pancetta fat leaving just a hint (about 2 tsp) for flavoring.
- Set stove top to medium heat and return skillet to heat. To the little bit of pancetta fat, add 4 tbsp Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil. Heat until shimmering but not smoking, then add shallots, peas, salt, black pepper, and 1 tsp aleppo pepper. Raise heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes, tossing regularly. Add garlic and parsley and cook for another 3 mins, or until peas are fully cooked through.
- Now return cooked pancetta to skillet. Add cooked pasta and 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water. Add the remaining 1 tsp aleppo pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss to combine.
- Add grated Parmesan cheese (you might stat with 3 to 4 tbsp and adjust as needed.) Test and adjust seasoning (salt and pepper) to your liking.
- Transfer pasta to serving bowls. Enjoy hot.
- This pasta makes a great next to something like this pan-seared salmon; breaded chicken; or this Mediterranean grilled chicken, for example. For a starter, try this avocado salad or this balela salad.
- Note: Because this pasta comes together quickly, it’s a good idea to work on salads etc. before you begin making the pasta.
- Recommended for this Recipe: Private Reserve Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil. And from our All-Natural Spice Collection, Aleppo-Style pepper— a mild chilli pepper with a sweet raisin-like undertone.
- SAVE! Try our Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil Bundle, and our Ultimate Mediterranean Spice Bundle! Or create your own 6-pack or 3-pack from our all-natural or organic spice collections!
- Browse The Mediterranean Dish store for quality Mediterranean ingredients.
More Recipes to Try: