Last week's Capellini with Lemon and Caviar really inspired me to try out a few more lemon-based Pasta dishes. The addition of lemon to a pasta dish gives it a very delicate, less heavy feel...and it reminds me of spring time (which we could currently use a little of after the multiple snow storms we've endured).
With the thoughts of spring in my mind, I went with a few other ingredients that remind me of spring: Peas and Pancetta. Peas are in peak season in April and for some reason, I associate Pancetta with Easter (which again, occurs in the spring). I liked the idea of adding salty, acidic and sweet elements to the dish, which is then rounded out with the addition of umami from pasta's best friend, Pecorino Romano.
The choice of pasta was another consideration. I knew angel hair couldn't stand up to the solid elements of the diced pancetta and peas, so I needed a broader noodle that could hold it's own in terms of textures. It was a toss up between Bucatini and Linguine, and ultimately I went with the Linguine because it's a flat noodle which gives it more surface area to hold sauce/solids, as opposed to the round bucatini. You could also try a Fettuccini or even a Pappardelle - really the choice is yours based on your pasta preferences.
When you get a bite with the pancetta, peas, pasta and Pecorino (P^4), it is truly the perfect bite.
Linguine with Pancetta, Peas and Lemon
- 1 pound of Dried Linguine Pasta
- 1/2 pound Unsalted Butter, melted
- 3 teaspoons Garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon Coursely Ground Black Pepper
- 4 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 3 teaspoons Lemon Zest
- 4 oz Pancetta, diced small
- 1 cup Frozen Peas
- Zest of 1 Lemon, for garnish
- Pecorino Romano, for serving
- In a microwave safe measuring cup, melt the butter with the garlic and black pepper. Stir in the lemon juice and zest, set aside.
- Cook the Lingune in a large pot of water until just cooked (a little more cooked than al dente).
- Meanwhile, in a large saute pan over a medium high heat, cook your pancetta for 2-3 minutes, add in your peas and cook, stirring frequently, until the pancetta is golden brown. Turn off heat. Remove half of the pancetta/peas and place in a bowl. Pour in your butter/lemon mixture to the saute pan with the remaining pancetta and peas, stir and reserve.
- Once the pasta is done, drain pasta quickly, and put it directly into the saute pan.
- Toss the pasta in the pancetta, peas, lemon and butter mixture. Taste and season with salt.
- Plate the pasta by twirling with a fork and spoon so as to create a "mountain" of pasta. Add some of the reserved pancetta and peas from the bowl to the top. Add some shaved Pecorino Romano on top and garnish with more lemon zest. Serve hot.