Friday, October 01, 2010

Campanelle with Pancetta and Peas...

Pizza night is a repeater this week - for tonight, Jeff requested that Calabrese Potato Provolone Pizza.

We had an appointment for Gus set up at the vet (routine!) and the only time they had available was just about the same time Jeff gets done with work. Time-wise this was good since we only have one car and the vet is not that far from his office, but it also meant we were going to arrive back home a fair amount later than we usually do. Knowing I was going to be pressed for time to get anything on the table for dinner, I made sure not to pick out anything too complicated or time consuming. I try to keep a pile of untried recipes set aside for nights like this and that is exactly where I went, finding this Campanelle with Pancetta and Peas recipe to make.

To move this dish along as quickly as possible, as we dropped the little pasta flowers into a pot of boiling, salted water to cook, we already had another skillet on the stove heating a small pool of extra-virgin olive oil. Into that skillet went tiny cubes of pancetta (like bacon, but not smoked - you could use bacon here too if you can't find pancetta) to brown. Chopped onion joined the pancetta and as soon as it had a chance to soften, a mess of garlic was stirred in. Four cloves were enough for us, but I think there is plenty of room to adjust - a little more for those garlic fiends and a little less for the timid.

For a hint of acidity, a small glass of dry white wine made it way into the skillet - however, if you don't cook with alcohol, you could use chicken broth instead - I would just add a splash of mild vinegar to compensate. Frozen peas, a couple cups worth, was the next ingredient to hop into the skillet and as soon as the green balls had heated through, fresh thyme and the zest of a lemon were the last additions to the "sauce" components.

The pasta, along with enough of the now-starchy water to coat, was brought into the same skillet with the vibrant peas and was left over low heat for just a minute to bring everything together. I did give a range on the amount of pasta - since there is plenty going on, you could easily get away with twelve ounces worth and be fine, though we did go with the full pound for a generous six servings. If you have trouble finding campanelle, try using the ear-shaped pasta called orecchiette.

With a handful of salty pecorino-romano cheese to round out the dish, we portioned out servings into warm plates and gave them one last addition - a hearty scoop of sheep's-milk ricotta cheese. You could go ahead and stir the ricotta in at the last minute, but try serving it as a large dollop on top of each plate instead - this way, you can enjoy the creamy texture and delicate, tangy flavor of the ricotta against each bite of this zesty pasta meal. If you do happen to have extra lemon zest, sprinkle the shreds over the ricotta dollop for extra zing.


  1. Una gustosa pasta, buona e complimenti ciao

  2. Gorgeous. Pork, peas, and pasta are always a perfect combo in my book. I've loved that flavor combo ever since I was a kid and continue to enjoy it.

  3. LLT - Thanks!

    Stefania - Ok!

    Kelly - Do you have a favorite recipe for the combo?