Pasta with peas and pancetta, also known as pasta e piselli, is an easy weeknight meal bursting with Italian flavors of fresh peas, salty pancetta, olive oil, and hearty pasta. You can make this quick dinner recipe in under 30 minutes using these simple ingredients!
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Why You Should Make This Recipe
- Simple one-pan recipe!
- Light meal, no heavy sauce, and made with no cream!
- Uses pantry and freezer ingredients.
- Quick and easy to make in under 30 minutes.
- Delicious homemade weeknight meal.
- Unique pasta recipe!
- Spring peas provide fresh flavors!
- Non-red sauce pasta recipe - no tomatoes.
- Green peas and pancetta pasta is a great source of protein.
- Classic Italian dish that is budget-friendly and family-approved!
- Hearty recipe with prosciutto!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here are the ingredients you need to make this recipe. Reference the recipe card at the bottom for exact measurements and the notes below for substitution ideas.
I recommend a short pasta like mezze rigatoni, orecchiette, or paccheri. You can use any pasta you have on hand.
Classic Italian versions of pasta e piselli will use ditalini pasta.
Pancetta is an Italian cured pork belly similar to bacon. It provides a salty and savory flavor and provides a fat source in the pasta with peas recipe.
Use bacon if you cannot find pancetta. It has a more smoky flavor than pancetta.
Olive oil provides the base of the sauce as opposed to a red sauce in many classic Italian dishes or cream and eggs used in pasta carbonara with peas.
Garlic and onion provide a depth of flavor, aroma, and savory quality.
Green spring peas provide a bit of sweetness and a fresh burst of flavor and texture in this pea pasta recipe. Use either fresh or frozen peas.
I do not recommend canned peas as the texture is too mushy.
Lemon juice provides acidic and fresh qualities to the flavor and olive oil sauce.
Parmesan cheese is used to garnish and add cheesy flavor. You can substitute feta cheese if desired.
Dietary Ingredient Notes
- For a low-carb or keto-friendly version, use spaghetti squash in place of pasta.
- Use pea pasta or chickpea pasta for a gluten-free, high-protein pasta choice.
- Make vegan or vegetarian pasta with peas by omitting pancetta and using vegan cheese (vegan only).
Taste and Texture
Pasta with peas and pancetta has a mixture of fresh and savory flavors.
The pasta provides a slightly chewy and firm texture, while the remaining ingredients provide both crunchy and soft textures.
How to Make This Recipe
Below are step-by-step instructions for how to cook this recipe. The recipe card at the bottom shows the exact cooking time and temperatures.
Return the pot to the stove and heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
Add diced onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
During the last minute, add the garlic and stir constantly to avoid burning.
Add pancetta and cook until crispy, about four to five minutes.
Add in the peas and allow them to heat for three to four minutes.
Return cooked pasta to the pan along with two tablespoons of olive oil, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, and up to one cup of pasta water.
Stir gently to incorporate and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add pasta in sections, the full 16 ounces of pasta may be too much. Reserve the excess for another use.
- Don't drain the pancetta fat, it will help to keep the pasta full of moisture.
- Stir in spinach or kale for additional greens.
- Add some crushed red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.
- If you forget to reserve the pasta water, use chicken broth as a substitute.
Serving, Storage, and Reheating
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Drizzle additional olive oil and then reheat leftovers in the microwave in 1-minute intervals, stirring in between.
- Serve pasta with peas and pancetta with a spring mix salad for a full meal.
- Top with fresh basil or parsley for a fresh herb taste.
To ensure the best quality and texture, freezing is not recommended.
Diced pancetta takes about five minutes to cook over medium heat.
There are so many delicious pancetta recipes in addition to this pasta with peas and pancetta. Pancetta pairs well with pasta, eggs, potatoes, and other meats.
Pasta with peas and pancetta is also known as pasta e piselli in Italian.
Other Easy and Delicious Pasta Recipes!
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Easy Pasta with Peas and Pancetta (Pasta e Piselli)
- 16 oz short pasta i.e. mezze rigatoni
- 4 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 1 small onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 oz pancetta diced
- 2 cups peas fresh or frozen
- 1 standard lemon
- 1 cup pasta water
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water to use later.16 oz short pasta, 1 cup pasta water
- Drain the pasta using a colander and then set the pasta aside.
- Return the pot to the stove and heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.4 tablespoon olive oil
- Add the onions and cook until translucent, for about five minutes. Add the garlic during the last minute of cooking and stir constantly to avoid burning.1 small onion, 4 cloves garlic
- Add pancetta and cook it for about three to four minutes.4 oz pancetta
- Stir in the peas and cook for about three minutes for fresh and up to five minutes for frozen.2 cups peas
- Turn off the heat and add the pasta back to the pot. Stir in up to one cup of pasta water, the juice of one lemon, and ¼ cup of parmesan.16 oz short pasta, 1 standard lemon, 1 cup pasta water, ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.salt and pepper
- For gluten-free use chickpea pasta or gluten-free pasta.
- To make the recipe vegan or vegetarian, omit the pancetta and use vegan cheese.
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days.
- To reheat, drizzle additional olive oil and then heat in the microwave in 1-minute intervals, stirring in between.