Pasta With Smashed Peas and Bacon

One of the first pasta dishes I really fell in love with was spaghetti carbonara (what’s not to love? Eggs, cheese and bacon) and in particular this zucchini carbonara when it first ran in the Minimalist.

So I was drawn immediately to a recipe for pasta with smashed peas, prosciutto and scallions in the Food Matters Cookbook- I had extra bacon on hand and figured if I subbed that in for the prosciutto it’d be more carbonara-y. I used shallot instead of scallion and was amazed at how rich this “sauce-less” pasta turned out after cooking the peas in bacon fat. Don’t tell carbonara but you don’t even miss the egg.

Pasta with Smashed Peas and Bacon, adapted from Mark Bittman’s  Food Matters Cookbook

Serves 2.

  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 ounces whole wheat pasta
  • Pecorino Romano cheese to grate over
  1. Bring a big salted pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the bacon into pieces and cook in a large skillet over medium high heat until crisp. Remove the bacon and pour off all but a teaspoon of the bacon fat. Add the shallot, sprinkle with salt, and cook until beginning to brown. Add the peas and cook for three minutes; remove from the heat.
  2. Cook the pasta as directed. When the pasta is about a minute away from being done, return the peas to medium heat and add 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Smash up the peas a little with the back of a spoon. Drain the pasta and keep a little of the water. Put the pasta back into the pot and stir in the peas, adding extra water if needed, depending on how much of a saucy consistency you want the peas to have.
  3. Serve the pasta, grating about a teaspoon of fresh pecorino romano on top and sprinkling with the crisp bacon pieces and more black pepper.
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