Author Notes: Sweet peas have arrived at the farmers market, spring is here! Peas & pancetta - one of my favorite dishes that I only eat in Spring when the peas are bright & fresh. I can't get enough, I don't know if it's the peas or the pancetta - is it the green veggie or the fatty pork that I love so?! Maybe I should just have another spoonful... —La Tavola Marche
ounces fresh shelled sweet peas, rinsed
ounces pancetta, bacon or guanciale, cured pig’s cheek (omit if vegetarian)
small onion, sliced
cherry tomatoes, halved
handfuls small parsley, chopped
tiny bit of mint, chopped (optional)
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil
- Bring a medium pot up to boil. In the meantime, in a medium skillet on medium-low heat, slowly render down the pancetta for 4-5 minutes, trying not to brown it and not crispy. If it starts to brown remove the pan from the heat or lower the flame.
- Next add garlic & onion, sauté for 5-6 minutes. (Vegetarian Note: Just omit the the pancetta & sauté the onions & garlic in olive oil.) When the onions & garlic are about 2 minutes from being ready, add the tomatoes.
- At the same time toss the peas in the water and blanch for 2-3 minutes. You want them approximately half-cooked. Strain the peas and throw them directly into the pan with the pancetta adding a spoonful of the pea-water. Allow to cook until peas are cooked but still have a bite.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper. Just before you serve, toss in the herbs and drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil.