Looking for something so simple and deliciously mouth watering? Then you HAVE to try pasta with peas, bacon, and ricotta sauce. The best thing about this (besides the flavor and empty bowl at the end) is you will only need 6 things: pasta, peas, bacon, ricotta, parmigiano, and butter…plus a little pepper:)
Since this recipe is so simple, please try to search for the best ingredients you can find. You will not be disappointed! I have cooked this many times for family and friends and they all loved it (kiddos too:). But last night I tried it with a new purchase from our local butcher- cured bacon ends. If I was not alive today, I could say I died and went to heaven last night. I even had it cold for lunch today and am still alive!
In my series on The Fundamentals of Italian Cooking I will be addressing the importance of ingredients in Part 3, as they can make or break a meal so quickly. So I won’t spend too much time on that now, but WOW the Bellingham butcher Carne really hit a home run with his cured bacon ends. I actually just went there today to buy some more!
What his product brought to this dish was a mouth-watering flavor that hit me immediately, and quickly validated that a dish is only as good as your ingredients. Everything else was the same: the peas, parmigiano, butter, ricotta, and pasta. However, (it may be too early to report on this) I just found a source for fresh organic whey in Bellingham and will be making my own ricotta! This is something I am so excited about and have been looking forward to for a while now.
This dish paired well with pan roasted chicken with rosemary and garlic, and a nice bottle of northern Italian white wine. We need to thank once again Marcella Hazan for this recipe- it is amazing how much goodness came from her stove-top.
Try it out. It is such a simple weeknight meal, and a great primo course for a larger meal.
Would love to hear how it went for you, and if Pasta with peas, bacon, and ricotta made your mouth water or not.
Grazie e ciao.
- 1 lb fresh peas, or 6-8 ounces of thawed frozen peas
- ¼ lb bacon, the leaner the better
- ¼ lb fresh ricotta
- ⅓ cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese (freshly grated), plus a little extra for the table
- 1 tbsp. butter
- Pasta (2-3 ounces per person)- conchiglie or fusilli work well
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Shell and wash your fresh peas and briefly cook to a simmer- you are looking for tenderness here. If using frozen peas just thaw in a bowl of warm water.
- Cut the bacon into 1 inch long thin strips and saute them over medium heat. Cook them till the fat melts, and they turn a light brown color (don't let them crisp, you want them chewy). Once done remove all but about 2 tbsp. of bacon fat.
- Add the peas to the saute pan and mix well with the bacon. Cook at medium heat for about 2 minutes.
- Place the ricotta cheese and butter in your serving bowl (I like to use a warm serving bowl, which allows the cheese and butter to soften a bit and mix together while the pasta is finishing up).
- Cook the pasta and drain (saving about 1-2 cups of hot pasta water). Mix the pasta with the ricotta, butter, and about 1 cup of the hot water (this will help keep your pasta dish moist). While draining the pasta warm up the peas and bacon (just a minute or so), and then toss with the pasta. Then add the parmigiano cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Serve and enjoy! Have some freshly ground parmigiano cheese on the table too.
Goes well with a nice northern Italian white wine.
Make sure to remember to reserve some of the pasta water to mix into the past dish- as it can get quite dry.