First, start by sautéing the pancetta in a skillet along with some olive oil and chopped onions. Next, add some crushed red pepper, peas and water; this creates a very quick and light sauce. Then the sauce is finished off with some grated Parmesan cheese and butter to create a light creamy effect without adding a ton of fat and calories.
Using only extra virgin olive oil is what really gives great flavor to this entire dish. Extra virgin olive oil should say on the label "product of Italy" and not just 'packed in Italy.' It makes a huge difference in the quality of olive oil rather than quantity. The olives have to come from Italy and not from other foreign countries, which is how some olive oil brands process their oil, and therefore the label will read "packed in Italy or packed in Greece." Nothing wrong with those olive oils, but definitely you will notice the difference in flavor.
While this spaghetti tossed with peas, onions and pancetta is nothing fancy, the result is a wonderful, flavorful meal that is satisfying and delicious! The only thing needed is to serve it with more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top! I bet everyone will enjoy this, even your littlest, fussiest eaters will devour this dish.
Perfect to serve on meatless Monday's! This dish gives me great pleasure every time I serve it to my family, simply because I'm happy they're eating vegetables with one of their favorite foods - SPAGHETTI! Try this recipe!
And, Buon Appetit!
Spaghetti Tossed with Peas, Onions and Pancetta
- 3 to 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil - divided
- 1 large onion - chopped
- 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 5 Tbsp. (about 2 ounces) cubed pancetta
- 1 (16 ounce) frozen petite peas
- 1/4 tsp. salt.
- 3/4 cup water
- fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and extra at the table
- 1/2 to 3/4 pound spaghetti or Gluten Free Spaghetti
In a medium size sauté pan, heat on medium-heat and add 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, along with the onions. Sauté onions until they are soft and turn a golden color, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add pancetta and crushed red pepper, and continue to sauté, stirring until the pancetta is fully cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add in the peas and salt. Sauté peas for about 2 minutes, until peas are completely defrosted and all the flavors infuse together. Finally, pour in the water and cover with a large lid. Simmer on low-medium heat for about 15 minutes.
Meantime, in a large pot of boiling water, add 1 teaspoon of salt to water.
Add spaghetti or your favorite pasta to the boiling water and cook the pasta to "al-dente," about 6 minutes. Reserve 1/3 cup of boiling pasta water (before draining).
Drain pasta, and bring the pasta back into the pot. Add the peas mixture and the reserved water, and sauté while stirring everything on low heat for about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
Drizzle on top with extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 to 2 tablespoons, or add 2 Tbsp. of butter instead. Add in 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, and mix to combine everything. Add fresh cracked pepper to taste. Serve with extra grated cheese at the table.
Serves 4 to 5