This 20-minute pancetta pasta with peas is a light and easy summer dinner. In the time it takes to boil the pasta you can make the citrusy white wine sauce flavored with fresh herbs.
This post, recipes, and photos have been updated from the archives. First published in March 2015.
If you’re like me you’ve reached the point in the summer when spending too long in a hot kitchen is as appealing as wearing a woolly sweater at the beach. Since I don’t have air conditioning, house temperature management has become a part-time job. So, no-cook, quick and easy, or ‘oh h*ck, let’s just order pizza’ are some of my cooking goals these days.
And this pancetta pasta falls under the “quick and easy” column. Yes, it requires turning on the stove but only long enough to boil the pasta which translates to about 20 minutes work time in total if you count the prep. So, in the time it takes to boil the pasta you can make the pancetta cooked in a light and citrusy white wine sauce.
Type of Pasta
This is actually a recipe I first shared four years ago and I originally used spaghetti, but I’ve changed it up for orecchiette which is a small bowl-shaped pasta (also known as “little ears”) that cradles the pancetta and peas. This dish just works better with a short pasta instead of the long slippery strands of spaghetti.
That said, you can substitute the orecchiette for another small pasta shape like penne, small shells, cavatelli, farfalle, fusilli, or gemelli.
Orecchiette takes approximately 10 to 12 minutes to cook, depending on the brand, and in that time you can make the sauce.
How to Make the Sauce
Since it’s summer the sauce is light and, by design, will merely coat the cooked pasta in a thin layer of flavor.
- Yellow onion
- Dry white wine
- Lemon juice and zest
- Frozen green peas
- Fresh parsley
Pancetta is cured pork belly used in Italian cooking. I’ve never had a problem finding it in regular grocery stores – it’s usually near the deli meat section and sold (already diced!) in 4-ounce packages. If you can’t find it you can substitute bacon, but it will give your dish more of a smoky flavor.
I recommend using a dry white wine for this recipe, like sauvignon blanc, chardonnay or pinot grigio. Pick a wine you like to drink and use some of it to make the sauce and serve the rest with dinner 🥂
I like to add a couple of tablespoons of butter right at the end before I add the pasta to the sauce. The butter adds more flavor and gives the sauce a bit more body.
Cook the pancetta first in a large pan until it renders its fat, which will take about five minutes or so.
Add the onions and garlic and stir them around for about a minute or so before adding the wine and lemon juice.
Turn the heat up and bring the sauce to a simmer. You want to reduce the liquid a bit so it thickens slightly. Scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan while the wine and lemon juice simmers.
Add the peas, parsley and butter. You can add the frozen peas directly to the sauce because they will thaw out pretty quick as you stir them with the sauce. Once the butter has melted, add the hot, cooked pasta and stir to coat it with the sauce.
For serving, I like to sprinkle on a little more chopped parsley, some grated Parmesan cheese, and some black pepper.
So, here’s to summer and some easy cooking – stay cool, my friends.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
If you’ve been following along for a while you know how much I love pasta. Browse my entire pasta recipes collection or here are a few of my favorite easy pasta recipes you might like, too.
- Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Feta
- 5-Ingredient Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo
- Lemon-Leek Pasta with Chicken
A quick and easy pasta dish with pancetta and peas. In the time it takes to boil the pasta you can make the sauce. This recipe makes four generous servings, but you can easily stretch it to serve six if you add a salad and bread on the side.
- 1 (12-ounce) box orecchiette or other short pasta
- 8 ounces diced pancetta
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (from about 2 cloves)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Zest of half a lemon
- 1 1/4 cups frozen green peas
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and boil it for the time listed on the package.
- While the pasta boils, cook the pancetta over medium heat in a large pan until it renders its fat, about five minutes.
- Add the onions, garlic, and salt and cook them for about a minute, or just until the garlic is fragrant.
- Pour in the wine, lemon juice, and zest and turn the heat up to bring them to a simmer. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the browned bits. Simmer the sauce for a few minutes or until it reduces a bit and slightly thickens.
- Add the peas, butter, and parsley and stir until the butter melts. Drain the pasta quickly and add it to the pan with the sauce and stir it until it’s evenly coated in the sauce.
- To serve, garnish each serving with some chopped parsley, grated Parmesan and black pepper.
Recipe inspired by Platings and Pairings
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Saute
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 688
- Sugar: 9.3g
- Sodium: 1233.7mg
- Fat: 28.6g
- Saturated Fat: 14.7g
- Unsaturated Fat: 3.9g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 111g
- Fiber: 19.3g
- Protein: 38.3g
- Cholesterol: 62.5mg
Keywords: pancetta pasta, pasta with peas,