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Overhead view of three bowls of shell pasta with peas and pancetta with spoon and small bowl of pepper on a dark wood surface.

Pasta with Peas and Pancetta


Pasta with Peas and Pancetta will be your new favorite spring pasta dish. Sweet peas compliment the salty pancetta and cheese so well in this simple recipe.


  • 8oz pipe rigate or shell pasta
  • 4oz pancetta or slab bacon, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 small spring onions (white parts only) or 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1 cup English peas, fresh or frozen
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter, sliced
  • 12 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or more as needed
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper


  1. Crisp pancetta. Add pancetta to a large nonstick pan at room temperature. If your pancetta is on the lean side, add a couple teaspoons of olive oil to the pan. Turn heat to medium. Slowly render the fat and crisp pancetta, stirring occasionally for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl, reserving fat in pan. 
  2. Saute onion. Add onion to pan and cook over medium to medium-low heat for approximately 4-6 minutes or until translucent and softened. Add a few teaspoons of additional oil, as needed, depending on how much fat your pancetta renders. Season with salt.
  3. Boil pasta. While pancetta cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season aggressively with salt. Cook pasta until 1-2 minutes short of al dente. Drain reserving one cup of pasta water.
  4. Cook peas. Add peas to pan with onions. Spoon in about 2 tablespoons of pasta cooking water. Bring to a simmer and cook until peas are tender with a slight bite, about 2 minutes if fresh and 1-2 minutes if frozen.
  5. Add pasta. Add pasta and reserved pancetta to pan with the peas. Drizzle in 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil, as desired. Add cheese, butter and a couple tablespoons of pasta water to pan. Stir continuously over medium to medium-low heat until butter and cheese have emulsified with the water to form a sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I like a healthy amount of pepper in this dish. Add additional pasta water, as needed, to adjust consistency of the sauce.
  6. Serve. Transfer to serving bowls.  Top with additional pepper, maldon salt or grated cheese, as desired. Enjoy.




You can easily double this recipe if you prefer to cook a full pound of pasta.

Thick cut pancetta or bacon are preferred for this dish, but you can use thinly sliced varieties if that’s all you can find. Just adjust the cooking time, as needed. 

If you cannot find a spring onion or shallot, use any white or yellow onion. 

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 1/3 of pasta
  • Calories: 630
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Sodium: 660mg
  • Fat: 27g
  • Saturated Fat: 12g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 15g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 74g
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Protein: 23g
  • Cholesterol: 50mg

Keywords: pasta with peas and pancetta, pasta with peas, pasta with peas and bacon