Today’s recipe is brought to you by the letter P! and most of the ingredients in this recipe start with the letter P. I love this creamy pasta with pancetta and peas! Creating a puree with the peas adds a nice creaminess to the pasta without adding cream. Although, we do add some mascarpone cheese, which is similar to a cream cheese and that definitely helps add to the creaminess as well. Sweet pops of whole peas along with salty pancetta add a nice balance to this pasta dish. I love pasta!
PENNE WITH PANCETTA, PEAS, PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO AND MASCARPONE
Recipe by Mark Calaminici | Food Loves Company
3 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, whole and smashed
Chili flakes, to taste
2 cups of peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Zest of half a lemon
Basil (fresh), to taste
200-250g pancetta, 1/2 inch thick, cut into small chunks
450g pasta, your choice
Parmigiano-Reggiano, to taste
1. In a pan on low-medium heat, add extra virgin olive oil, garlic and chilli flakes. Once the garlic has softened a bit, add 1 cup of peas, mascarpone, a splash of water and season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Stir frequently and once mascarpone has melted and the peas have cooked, remove to a blender or food processor. Add lemon zest and basil and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
2. In a frying pan over low-medium heat, add pancetta and cook until it starts to render and get crispy. Once cooked, remove to a plate lined with paper towel. Set aside. You can remove the rendered fat from the pan or some of it. I like to leave some of it as it adds more flavour to the pasta.
3. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water just before al dente, as we will finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. Reserve pasta water.
4. Remove the pasta a couple minutes before al dente to finish cooking it in the pan. Add the pasta to the pan along with the pea puree and a ladle of pasta water. Mix and toss to incorporate all the ingredients, adding more pasta water if needed. Add pancetta and 1 cup of whole peas and mix and toss. Once pasta is cooked, remove pan from heat or turn off heat and add Parmigiano-Reggiano a handful at a time, mixing and tossing. Plate and you can garnish with crispy pancetta, Parmigiano-Reggiano and freshly cracked pepper. Enjoy!