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Piselle, Pancetta, Panna!  (Peas, smoked bacon cubes, cream!)

A dear friend served us this dish, made with fresh (!) peas in the Spring and was kind enough to share the recipe.  Before I could share it with you the weather got too hot to be thinking about pasta and cream, so I waited.  But now the days are shorter, the evenings cooler, and anything creamy doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. We made it this week and it was every bit as good as we remembered. 

It’s a simple enough recipe that it doesn’t require a separate page.  Here’s what you need:

Chicken (or other) broth
Fresh or frozen peas
Pancetta (or diced bacon)
Olive oil
Paglia e fieno pasta (mix of yellow and green noodles) – fresh is much, much                                                                                                                better than dry
Heavy cream
Parmigiano

Here’s what you do, as described by our friend:

Just saute some pancetta (or diced bacon in the USA) in a bit of olive oil.

Fresh peas really make a difference in this dish, but if not available frozen peas will do (but no canned peas please). Saute the peas in a little chicken broth until barely cooked and still crunchy.

The proper pasta for this dish is called Paglia & Fieno (it means Straw and Hay: the yellow noodles are the Straw and the green ones the Hay).  Cook the pasta until it is done to your taste.

While the pasta is cooking drain the peas, reserving the broth, add them to the pancetta and mix in enough heavy cream to cover the pasta well.

Grate a little Parmesan over the top and serve.

Use the reserved broth to thin if the dish seems too sticky.


Note that as a variation for this dish you can sautè some diced onions (or better yet – spring onions) in with the pancetta. Another variation is to substitute diced cooked ham for the pancetta.

You’ll notice there are no quantities given for the various ingredients.  Just get the amount of pasta that you want and use what seems to be an appropriate amount of the other ingredients according to your own preferences.  You can’t go wrong.  Buon Appetito!