Monday, July 23, 2012

Fresh Peas with Parmesan & Pancetta

During my first year living in Bologna I shared an apartment with four other women. Three of us remained the entire year while the other two rooms saw a rotation of both American and Italian housemates - and one lovely lady from South America. She stayed with us but very briefly but she left an indelible mark on me when she made fresh peas with pancetta.
I had never tasted fresh peas before that moment. Had never sat and shelled peas into a colander. Had never paired their sweet, starchy flavor with a salty, fatty richness like pancetta. They were the simplest thing in the world - and an utter novelty to me. On a recent trip to a market near a friend's house I was surprised to see a display of locally grown produce that included fresh peas. As I excitedly scooped up a bag I had but one thought in my mind: had Thom already eaten all the pancetta?

Fresh Peas with Parmesan & Pancetta
2.5 cups fresh peas in the shell, yields approximately one cup peas
1/4 cup pancetta, cubed*
water, substitute chicken stock for more flavor
parmesan, to taste
parsley, to garnish
salt & pepper to taste

Shell the peas into a colander and rinse well. In a pot set over medium-low heat begin to render the pancetta (*I had promised Thom he could eat the pancetta so I left mine as a whole piece and simply set it aside when cooked for him. I recommend cubing the pancetta and serving it mixed in with the peas). Do not over cook the pancetta!

Add the rinsed peas and enough water to cover. Raise the heat to a simmer and let cook until peas are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain any remaining water, season with salt & pepper, garnish with parmesan shavings and parsley and serve hot.

You can serve these peas as a side dish or stir them into your favorite creamy pasta dish for an added depth of flavor and color.



  1. Of course you had fresh peas. I grew them in NYC & NH. But you were little and don't remember. And I never made them with pancetta. Bunny

  2. Love this dish and love fresh peas although I don't get them nearly as often as I would like. I have such fond memories of picking {and eating} fresh peas at my Aunt and Uncles house in Maine. Of course you can'y go wrong with a little parmesan and pancetta :-) Can't wait to make this!

  3. Sounds good to me...Maybe I'll get Scott to eat his peas with this one! ;-)

  4. I never thought there is such a great way to serve peas without carrots ;) I love the parmesan shavings. This is such a unique dish. I love to try soon...

    Myfudo here...Normally we'd never put a shameless plug back to us, but we just launched our new site and we would love for you to be a part of it. I'd love to share our newest launch with you, I hope you don't mind? Now that we are getting a new look...Myfudo is moving to a new domain This has been a project we have been working on for almost a year now. We just launched our new gallery submission site, and we are just thrilled. We’d be proud to have your work as part of our growing collection to continue to have a larger reach and further inspire all fellow food lovers out there! Please sign up and check us out (it's free)
    We look forward to seeing your wonderful pictures, as always.
    p.s. We are hosting a Kitchen Aid Mixer Giveaway to celebrate our new Yumgoggle site, we hope you'll participate =)

  5. You never had to shell peas?!?! Lucky YOU! I spent many a summer sitting on the front porch doing just that - but they did taste good! This recipe sounds wonderful......I have never used pancetta so thanks for a way to try it out!

  6. We've not had peas yet here because of the drought this year, but next time I see fresh peas, I'm trying this one! :-)

  7. Light, fresh and simple, LOVE it! Something I could eat, enjoy and not feel guilty about afterwards. The peas look perfect!

  8. I've gotta say, if there is pancetta in the fridge, it's kinda fair game. :) That being said next time I'm at the market I'm going to get some pancetta to hoard away so I can make this!


I love reading your comments! If you have a question that requires a personal response please email me using the information located on the Contact page. Thank you for reading and happy cooking!