We are always looking for pasta recipes that reflect the season and local produce. This Pancetta Pasta with peas and mint is a celebration of all things spring! It’s got salty, crispy pancetta, an abundance of fresh mint, and sweet little English peas. If you’re lucky enough to find them fresh, grab them! If not, you can easily substitute with frozen peas (which we keep on hand all the time).
We love how light and fresh this pasta dish tastes, with the added bonus that it cooks up quickly. Serve with lots of grated Parmesan cheese (or Grana Padano would be amazing!) for an easy weeknight dinner the whole family will love.
- Pasta: We recommend something short, such as rigatoni, mezze rigatoni, penne, mezze, or penne, all of which will absorb the sauce!
- Extra virgin olive oil: Sometimes pancetta needs a little additional fat in the pan to crisp up. It’s got a lot less fat to render than its closest cousin, bacon.
- Pancetta: If you can’t find pancetta, use guanciale or bacon.
- Fresh mushrooms: We absolutely love shiitake mushrooms, but use any variety of mushrooms you like.
- Shallot: This adds a subtle onion and garlic flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the mint or the peas.
- Fresh English peas: A spring time treat! If you can’t find them fresh, frozen peas are A-okay.
- Kosher salt and black pepper: To season everything!
- Garlic cloves: Because, garlic!
- Dry white wine: To add some acidity and make the sauce.
- Heavy cream: You’ll need about ⅓ of a cup. This helps to make the sauce luscious and creamy
- Fresh mint: Don’t use dried, it won’t have the same bright flavor as fresh!
- Parmigiano Reggiano: Lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese to add that delicious nutty, cheesy taste we all love with pasta!
- Unsalted butter: To help make the sauce
- Flaky sea salt: For serving
You’ll also want to make sure to reserve some of the pasta cooking water, which we’ll need to make the sauce for the pancetta pasta.
How To Make Pancetta Pasta
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water, being sure to reserve a bit of the cooking water before draining.
- Crisp the pancetta. Cook pancetta in a large skillet, adding a little oil if needed, then transfer to a paper-towel lined bowl to drain of excess far.
- Sauté mushrooms. In the same skillet, add lots of sliced shiitake mushrooms. Saute until browned on all sides, then add a shallot, English peas, and fresh garlic.
- Make the sauce. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine and white vinegar, then make the sauce with heavy cream, reserved pasta water, fresh mint, and Parmesan cheese. Simmer until smooth and creamy.
- Add the pasta. Once the sauce is thickened, add the cooked pasta directly into the skillet, then toss to thoroughly coat. Taste, adjust seasoning, then serve immediately with additional fresh mint and grated Parm.
- Reserve pasta water! This is rule #1 any time you make pasta at home. Reserve some of the cooking water to add back into the sauce. This is how chefs get that creamy texture in restaurants. The starches in the water will help to thicken the sauce.
- Don’t overcook the pancetta. There’s undercooking pancetta (chewy) and overcooking (burnt) and we want neither. Instead, keep an eye on the pancetta as it crisps in the skillet to make sure it’s got a crispy exterior, but that the middle still has a little chew. Use a slotted spoon to pull it off as soon as it’s done.
- Finish the pasta in a skillet. Instead of tossing the cooked pasta with the sauce in a bowl off of the heat, be sure to cook them for a minute or two in a skillet over medium heat. This helps to coat the pasta evenly with the creamy sauce. This is how all the best pasta dishes are made in restaurants!
Pancetta is uncured pork belly that’s been seasoned and cured with spices. It features both lean and fatty parts, but is, in general, leaner than bacon. If you can’t find pancetta, substitute with guanciale or bacon.
Personally, I think most pasta recipes taste better the next day… The flavors get a chance to meld. Simply reheat pasta on a stovetop in a skillet with a little water or an additional splash of heavy cream to bring the sauce back to life. Top with fresh garnishes, then serve.
Leftover pasta should be stored in an airtight container in a fridge. They’ll keep for up to 5 days.
What’s The Best Shape Of Pasta To Use?
For this particular recipe, we really love a short tube-shaped pasta. Something where the sauce (and peas and pancetta!) can get trapped inside of every bite. We mean that in the best possible way.
I will be absolutely shocked if this does not become a staple in your kitchen. It’s that good.
If you make this Pancetta Pasta recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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More Pasta Recipes To Try!Creamy Scallop Pasta With Corn and Pesto Cozy & Comforting Chicken Marsala Pasta Caramelized Shallot Pasta with Anchovy Breadcrumbs Pappardelle Pasta with Corn & Basil Cream Sauce Spicy Tagliatelle with Crab, Lemon, and Capers
Easy Pancetta Pasta with Peas & Mint
- 1 lb pasta such as rigatoni, mezze rigatoni, penne, mezze, or penne
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus more as needed
- 8 oz pancetta cut into ¼" cubes
- 8 oz shiitake mushrooms stems removed, caps thinly sliced
- 1 medium shallot finely chopped, about 3 Tbsp
- 1 cup fresh English peas (frozen is fine)
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped, about 1 Tbsp
- 1 tsp Kosher salt plus 1 Tbsp for seasoning pasta water
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated, plus more for serving
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Flaky sea salt for serving
- Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add a generous 1 Tbsp Kosher salt. Add pasta and cook according to package directions, or until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water before draining the pasta.
- Crisp the pancetta. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add 8oz cubed pancetta and cook, stirring often, until mostly crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pancetta to a paper towel lined plate.
- Sauté the mushrooms. If the pan looks dry, add an additional 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add 8oz sliced shiitake mushrooms to the pan and cook undisturbed until golden brown on the first side, about 3-4 minutes. Stir and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Add chopped shallot and 1 cup of English peas, then season with 1 tsp Kosher salt and ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the peas are cooked through, but have a slight crunch to them. Add 2 cloves chopped garlic, then cook about 1 minute more.
- Make the sauce. Pour in ½ cup white wine and 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar, then use a spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook down for 1 minute, then return the cooked pasta to the pan along with ⅓ cup heavy cream, ½ cup reserved pasta water, chopped mint leaves, ¼ cup grated Parmesan, and 2 Tbsp butter. Stir until the sauce is smooth and creamy, then taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve immediately! Serve with additional fresh mint, Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of flaky sea salt.
- Pancetta: can buy 2 (4oz) packages of pre-cubed pancetta or ask for 2 (¼” thick) slices from the deli counter, then cut into cubes.
- Cheese: can use Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano cheese in place of Parmesan, if wanted
- Leftover pasta should be stored in an airtight container in a fridge. They’ll keep for up to 5 days.
Photography by: Megan McKeehan