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Spaghetti with Pancetta and Peas

by Joseph Erdos
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spaghetticarbonaraHave you opened your freezer lately? I bet it's completely full just like mine. And how about the pantry? In the freezer I had a package of peas and sliced pancetta leftover from this Boeuf Bourguignon. In the refrigerator I had a pint of sour cream and a block of Parmesan cheese. In the cupboard I had a box of spaghetti. My staple ingredients included oil, shallots, garlic, and black pepper.

All these ingredients come together to form a luscious pasta dish in anticipation of springtime. The peas provide bursts of verdant flavor and the pancetta a salt-and-brine flavor. The combination of sour cream and Parmesan cheese with some pasta water creates the perfect sauce.

But the best part about this recipe is the endless possibility for reinterpretation depending upon what you have. The ingredients do not have to be the exact ones mentioned here. Use bacon instead of pancetta. Use heavy cream or milk instead of sour cream. Use fettuccine instead of spaghetti. It's up to you to experiment and have fun with it.

 

Spaghetti with Pancetta and Peas

12 ounces spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
1/4 cup sour cream
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more

Cook spaghetti according to package directions in liberally salted water. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Cut pancetta into small pieces and add to pan. Cook until fat has rendered, about 5 minutes.

Add shallot and garlic, and cook for a few minutes further. Add peas and cook until tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes.

Add cooked pasta and the reserved pasta water. Stir in sour cream and cheese; toss until melted and sauce has formed. Serve with additional grated Parmesan. Yield: 4 servings.

 

Joseph Erdos is a New York–based writer and editor, but above all a gastronomer and oenophile. He shares his passion for food on his blog, Gastronomer's Guide , which features unique recipes and restaurant reviews among many other musings on the all-encompassing topic of food.

 

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