Pasta with Peas, Cheese, and Bacon

There's a reason the pasta + peas + bacon combo is so universal, found everywhere from 4-star restaurants to the freezer aisle. It's just dang delicious.

This recipe from Cook's Country fancies up the classic just a little bit (you'll want ricotta and lemon to round out the dish, and amp up the flavor by grating your Parm from a wedge if you can find one), but not too much. It's still the beloved classic that easy enough for a weeknight dinner. Enjoy!

Photo courtesy Cook's CountryPasta with Peas, Cheese, and Bacon
Serves 4
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 pound small pasta shells or penne
2 cups frozen peas
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot for cooking pasta.

Place ricotta, Parmesan, butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in bowl large enough to hold cooked pasta.

Fry oil and bacon in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to plate lined with paper towels. Add onion to empty pan and cook until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer onion mixture to bowl with ricotta mixture.

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water. When pasta is about 1 minute shy of al dente, add peas and continue to cook for 1 minute. Reserving 1 cup cooking water, drain pasta and peas. Add 1/2 cup cooking water and lemon juice to ricotta mixture and whisk until smooth. Add pasta and peas to bowl and toss to coat, adding more reserved cooking water as necessary to moisten pasta. Stir in crisp bacon and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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