Pasta and peas is one of those magical combinations. However, I must admit, I never liked peas growing up as a kid. But then again, does any kid?
It’s hard to imagine why not, as they can be so incredibly sweet and delicious. Especially when combined with pasta, pancetta (who doesn’t love bacon?) and some caramelized onions.
Just don’t tell the kids they’re nutritious as well:
- They are low in calories in comparison with beans, another legume
- They contain healthy amounts of fiber
- They’re rich in B-vitamins
- They’re a good source of many minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese
- They have 45 percent of the daily value recommended in vitamin K and nearly 25% in thiamin, vitamin A, and folate
- They have high levels of anti-oxidants including flavinoids, carotenoi, phenolic acids and polyphenols
- 8 ounces pancetta, diced
- 2 Tbl. Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil (and more for drizzling after)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen peas or fresh if you have them
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 egg (optional)
- 2 Tbl. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
- 1 pound (or 500g) shell pasta
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Add your Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil to a sauce pan and cook pancetta in a pan over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper plate.
- Turn down your heat In the same pan, cook the onions until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Do this very low and slow. You are aren't trying to fry them, but caramelize them and bring out their sweetness. This is optional, and you can go right to just sauteeing them on high heat until softened about 5 minutes. But I do think this adds a ton of flavor to the dish.
- After the onions are nice and brown, add the peas and garlic and saute for 5-8 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve one cup of pasta water.
- Just before the pasta is done, add your egg and Parmigiano-Reggiano to a cup or bowl. Whisk together until thoroughly mixed. SLOWLY add a bit of the warm pasta water to the mix and whisk together. You just need to add a tablespoon or two to temper the eggs so they don't turn to scrambled eggs.
- Drain pasta, add to your pea mix along with the pancetta and egg & Parmigiano-Reggiano mix. Mix. Add is a touch of the pasta water if the mixture looks too dry.
- Serve immediately and top with a drizzle of Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil and freshly ground black pepper.
I should point out that fresh peas are really the best. The peas really aren’t that hard to get out of the shell, and it might be my imagination, but they seem to taste sweeter and “brighter” than the frozen variety.
That being said, the great thing about this recipe is that frozen peas work great as well, so you can make it any time of year.
Do you have a variation on the recipe? Have you tried it? Just let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.