Pasta and Peas with Pancetta

Pasta is one of the most versatile meals you can make. This pasta with peas and pancetta (or bacon) is the perfect weeknight pasta dinner.

Armin, my son’s fun cooking class, Lekkerness is on my Instagram every Wednesday, where he shows how easy it is for even a novice to prepare great food off the LK Fitness App .

The pasta and peas with pancetta recipe is also on the LK Fitness App under Mediterranean recipes.

Serving size

Serves 6


350g spaghetti – or pasta of your choice


olive oil

120g cubed pancetta or bacon cut into bits

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 cups frozen or fresh peas

8 garlic cloves, minced

black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided

1 bunch parsley, chopped

1 lemon, zested and juiced

grated parmesan cheese, to your liking


1. Cook pasta to al dente in plenty of salted boiling water, consult package for instructions. Be sure to add a splash of olive oil to the cooking water. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water aside, then drain pasta – some of the starchy pasta water will serve as a sauce later.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium heat. Add pancetta or bacon and cook, tossing regularly, until fully cooked and browned. Remove pancetta onto a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Carefully dispose of most of the pancetta fat leaving – just a hint – keep about 2 teaspoons for flavouring.

3. Set stovetop to medium heat and return skillet to heat. To the little bit of pancetta fat, add 4 tablespoons olive oil. Heat until shimmering but not smoking, then add onion, peas, salt, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Raise heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes, tossing regularly. Add garlic and parsley and cook for another 3 mins, or until peas are fully cooked through.

4. Now return the cooked pancetta to the pan. Add cooked pasta and ¾ cup of the reserved pasta water. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss to combine.

5. Add grated parmesan cheese – you might start with 3 to 4 tablespoons and adjust as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

6. Transfer pasta to serving bowls. Enjoy hot.

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