Author Notes: I LOVE PASTA and I'm not alone in this. I also always loved eating pesto but never really knew how to make it. While attending a part-time cooking school, I was assigned to the pesto! We actually started making it in a mortar and pestle, which was quite the workout. But ended up finishing it in a food processor. We then tossed with some spaghetti and topped with tons of grated Parmesan cheese. I’ve been waiting to make pesto until I somehow acquired a food processor, that’s not happening anytime soon and I got this idea to make pasta with pesto, pancetta and peas. I couldn’t get it out of my head, it just sounded so delightful. I then realized you could make pesto in a blender, actually my very bright roommate reminded me of this possibility. Pesto is really versatile with so many variations that you can do to make it your own. This is a traditional version with a pinch of red pepper flake added for a little kick. Let’s talk about pancetta, I am in love with all Italian cured meats right now. Pancetta is basically Italian bacon. It is cured with different spices but not smoked like American bacon. Peas just scream spring to me, although I did use frozen peas, much easier:) I hope you all enjoy!
ounces Dry Fusilli Pasta (the sauce sticks to this type of pasta really well)
ounces Pancetta, cubed
cup Small frozen peas
Clove garlic, cut in half
cups Fresh basil, loosely packed
cup Pine nuts, toasted
cup Grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Pinch of Red Pepper Flake
cup olive oil, you may need a little more
- Cook pancetta in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Pour off most of the fat from the pan.
- Add peas and sauté until warmed through, about 3 minutes
- To make the pesto, add garlic and pinch of salt to the bowl of a food processor or, in my case, the glass of a blender. Pulse until chopped finely.
- Add pine nuts then basil and puree.
- Add cheese, pinch of red pepper flake and mix.
- Drizzle oil through the top until mixture comes to the correct consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, Add pasta, pancetta, peas and pesto and mix well.
- Taste and adjust seasoning. (I added some more Parmesan cheese while I tossed the pasta)
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Don’t forget to add some grated Parmesan on top!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dish with Meat as a Flavoring