This super quick and easy creamy pancetta and pea pasta is perfect for a weekend night dinner. Fresh sweet peas and crispy salty pancetta are the perfect combination, it's a classic for a reason. Combined into a creamy parmesan sauce, freshened up with lemon and rocket.
Creamy Pancetta and Pea Pasta
Hello! I am writing up this DELICIOUS creamy pancetta and pea pasta which is a classic combination of flavours. It's not breaking any new ground in terms of a recipe but I think these are the perfect ingredient ratios! The rich sauce is freshened up with lemon and fresh rocket leaves. You will love this recipe, I promise. This serves two people but you could easily double the recipe.
I have used a dried shape called fusilli, which is one of my absolute favourites! It will work with any shape, preferably a short one. I find recipes where there are bits and pieces like peas and pancetta, using long shapes like pappardelle or spaghetti, it can be hard to mix through.
If you wanted to try a handmade shape you could make my homemade orecchiette or hand rolled gnocchi sardi. Both would be delicious! If you love this sauce try my creamy bacon pasta sauce which has a similar base but with vegetables for crunch. If you want something completely different but equally easy you have to make my cacio e pepe with olives and basil or my easy cheese sauce with pancetta and thyme.
Ingredients for creamy pancetta and pea pasta
Pasta - Obviously! I have used fusilli, it's one of my favourite dried shapes so I highly recommend. At the end of the day you can use whatever you like! I'm not into rules.
Pancetta - Please try and find pancetta if you can, but substitute bacon if you have to. Pancetta gives so much more flavour than regular bacon. You buy it in little slabs then cut it into tiny cubes.
Peas - Frozen peas are such a delicious addition to any pasta sauce. You don't need to defrost them, it doesn't take long for them to cook in the pan.
Cream - I just use single cream. If you use heavy or double cream you might just need to add some extra pasta water.
Parmesan - The better quality the better the taste but this sauce is already loaded with flavour so use what works for you. It needs to be really finely grated. If you don't have a microplane then use the star side of your box grater.
Lemon juice - Fresh is always best! You can also top the finished dish with some zest.
Rocket - Also known as arugula. It adds such a perfect fresh touch to this rich dish. I like to mix half into the sauce and use the rest on top.
Why pasta water is your best friend!
You'll hear me harp on about the magic that is pasta water in 99% of my recipes. It really is a key ingredient in every sauce I make. The starch left behind in the water acts as a thickening agent and helps sauces cling to the pasta. I couldn't make a sauce without it. I never EVER drain my pasta in a colander, I always transfer it directly to the sauce using a spider strainer. That way the pasta pot full of water is left there for you to ladle in as you need. if you have seen my reels on instagram you'll notice my sauces are SAUCY. Pasta soaks up liquid so quickly so I add enough pasta water to make it quite liquidy. By the time I serve into bowls and take to the table it hasn't dried up. You'll get to know what the right consistency is with some practice, you can't go wrong though I promise!
Tips for the best creamy pancetta and pea pasta
- Get all your ingredients prepped and ready to go. This is quite a quick sauce so it's great to spend a little extra time getting everything measured out and ready.
- Timing! I try and time the cooking of my pasta so that when my sauce is ready I can transfer my cooked pasta straight into the sauce. This takes some practice. This sauce will take about 10 minutes to make so you can add in your pasta after you start the sauce, depending how long the shape you've picked takes.
- Keep an eye on the heat. When you add the cream you just want a nice gently simmer, nothing should be boiling like crazy.
- Heat your plates! I ALWAYS heat my plates/bowls when making pasta. Pasta cools down so quickly. If I remember, I turn my oven on really low and pop the bowls in. For a last minute option, put a little bit of water in each one, stack them up and microwave for a minute or two. Empty the water out then dry. If you are having people over heated plates makes a big difference.
What should you serve with pasta?
I usually opt for a simple and fresh salad. It's a rich meal so something crisp and fresh cuts through it perfectly. For something really easy just serve some wedges of iceberg lettuce on a platter, drizzle with a nice olive oil and sprinkle with finely grated parmesan.
Want some other sauces to try?
If you loved this creamy pancetta and pea pasta sauce and haven't tried my creamy tomato pasta sauce then add it to the top of your list. If creamy sauces are your obsession then definitely check out my easy creamy peppery pasta. For another easy week night pasta check out my nduja mac and cheese.
Made this recipe and loved it?
I would love love LOVE if you could leave me a review down below and let me know what you thought! I love to hear any changes or adaptions you have made too. Also if you put a photo on instagram, please tag me so I can see, it makes my day!Print
Creamy Pancetta and Pea Pasta
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 people
A rich an addictive creamy pea and pancetta pasta. Freshened up with fresh lemon and rocket for an easy weeknight meal.
220g dried pasta, I used fusilli
1 tbsp olive oil
120g pancetta, cut into small cubes
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
120g frozen peas (about ¾ cup)
¾ cup cream
¼ - ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
65g parmesan, finely grated
1 cup packed rocket, more if you like!
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra parmesan to serve
- Cook your pasta in a pot of well salted boiling water according to packet instructions. I tend to undercook dried pasta by a minute so it remains al dente and can finish cooking in the sauce. Reserve a cup of pasta water towards the end of the cooking.
- Fry the pancetta in the olive oil over a medium heat until golden 5 - 6 mins.
- Add the garlic and let it sizzle for 30 seconds. Moving it around so it doesn't burn.
- Add the frozen peas and toss for another 30 seconds.
- Add the cream and bring to a gentle simmer. Lower the heat if you need, it should never bubble/boil aggressively.
- Add the pepper and lemon juice.
- Add the parmesan in three lots, stirring and letting it melt in between each addition.
- Add the pasta and toss then add ¼ cup pasta water. Let it all gently bubble away for a minute or two to thicken.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. You shouldn't need to add much, if any salt. Add more pasta water if you need to loosen.
- Add half of the rocket and toss.
- Serve between bowls, topping with the rest of the rocket and extra parmesan.
- Timing is always tricky but you'll get the hang of it the more you make it! My pasta took 7 minutes to cook so I started the sauce slightly before putting the pasta in the water. I like to time it so I can add the pasta straight from the water to the sauce.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
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