Simple Whole Wheat Pasta with Peas and Pancetta

Simple, quick pasta dishes are one of my favorite meals to make. This is one of my “go-to” meals since I usually have all of these ingredients in my kitchen. If you’re Vegetarian, feel free to substitute the pancetta for a vegetable. Sometimes I put in some sliced mushrooms or asparagus instead of pancetta. If you’ll notice in the recipe, I don’t drain the pancetta on paper towels. I feel there’s so much flavor in all the drippings, so why drain?? I cut the shallots into rings and garlic into slivers because I kind of like seeing garlic and onion (err, shallot…) chunks in my pasta dishes. If you don’t, feel free to mince them.


I also use whole wheat pasta in 90% of my pasta dishes. I use the Bionaturae Chiocciole pasta for this recipe. It’s not as ‘grainy’ as other whole wheat pastas and was also featured in a 2010 NY Times article. What the heck is Chiocciole pasta, you ask? The shape is like a big macaroni and it means ‘snail’ in Italian. I use it a lot but if you don’t have it, any pasta shape is fine. I only use 8 ounces (half the bag) because it expands. If it’s not enough, add more! This is one of the reasons why I love making simple pasta dishes because they’re so versatile and you can substitute anything.

Simple Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe

  • 8 ounces organic whole wheat Chiocciole pasta
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas (frozen is fine)
  • 2-4 ounces diced fresh pancetta (depending on how greedy you’re feeling)
  • 1 large shallot, sliced in rings
  • 2 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • salt and pepper (not too much salt since there’s pancetta and parmigiano reggiano)
  • good olive oil, for drizzle
  • lemon juice

    Bring large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente. Reserve some pasta water for later.

    Sauté pancetta in a large saucepan on medium-high til crisp and golden, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer pancetta out of pan to a bowl. In the same pan, sauté shallots til softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes. Then add the peas. There will be liquid from the frozen peas, so make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan from all the drippings to make a little sauce, or if it’s too dry for you add a bit of olive oil or pasta water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine pasta, cheese and pancetta. Transfer to serving bowls and drizzle with good olive oil, more fresh pepper and a squirt of juice from a lemon.

    Total Time: 20 minutes
    Yield: 4 servings

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