Peas and Pancetta in a Flash

So, it had been one of those weeks. You know the kind. The kind where the baby, trying to make use of his limited vocabulary, hollers at his older brother in peak frustration, “Just…just…just go put your head in the potty!” and then storms out of the room, leaving the 10-year old to shrug his shoulders and mutter, “Good dis, pal…real good dis.”
The kind of week where in the middle of the costume store, not but 24-hours before the big day, you have to inform your eldest son that no, you weren’t kidding when you told him he couldn’t get the mask with the blood pumping through it because you find that there is something inherently wrong with it. “But, Mom, all my friends have that mask. It’s so cool.” “Well, then, I guess you’ll be something original.”

The kind of week where your daughter has seconds to spare if she’s going to make the bus and you have but seconds to spare to make it to your godforsaken annual doctor’s appointment and she flies down the stairs headed for the front door wearing a masterpiece of fashion know-how that clearly took hours to put together, and you can’t help it. You even try to stop yourself because it’s just so…so…textbook but somehow you hear yourself saying, “Wait a minute, sweetie. You can’t wear that to school. Your skirt is too short.” And she looks at you, aghast, and replies, “But, Mom, everyone wears skirts like this.” And you know that you have truly been anointed a mother when you hear yourself say to her in return, “Well, not you. Go change and make it quick.”

The kind of week that found your sweetie trying to save his favorite chair at three in the morning from the cat who sat poised on it ready to cough up not just a hairball but what appeared to be his entire innards
The kind of week where you begin to wonder if you are stuck in a remake of Groundhog Day since every time you look around you find yourself in your car. “Here I am driving.” “Here I am, still driving.” “Wasn’t I just driving?” “Gads, I’m gripping this steering wheel again.” “Somebody help me. I’m driving again.” “I’m driving again and this same dang song keeps playing every time I’m in here.” “Ahhrrrgh….somebody save me from this car!” And you find yourself wanting to pull over to the side of the road and huck the CD with the song that you used to love on it, but now can’t stand, into the bushes.

And then, without warning, you come upon it. This little bit of frozen time. Where the road behind you has slipped away beyond the bend and the road in front of you is hidden by the horizon and there you are, fully in the moment. All thoughts of masks and skirts and heads in potties and what’s for dinner disappear and you are taken aback by the way the sun filters through the leaves. The way the branches arch over the road so you and your car feel as though you’re slipping through an arbor. An arbor leading somewhere magical. And then, just as quickly as you came upon it, the moment is gone and your mind fills back up with the static humming of life’s busyness. But, in that moment, your mind was able to clear a tiny spot. A tiny spot to remind you to breathe, to slow down over the bumps and that Peas and Pancetta are good on a night when you are out of time.
Peas and Pancetta with Bowtie Pasta
Course: Dinner
Serves: 5-6 servings
This is one of our favorite go-to meals. It's quick to make and I almost always have a bag of peas in the freezer and pasta in the pantry. If I don't have pancetta, I substitute a package of bacon. Oh darn, bacon.
  • 4 cups frozen petite peas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ⅓ pound pancetta, diced
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound dried bowtie (farfalle) pasta
  • 1 cup pasta water
  • More salt and pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a deep sauté pan with a lid, cook your frozen peas in boiling water until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain them in a colander and spray with cold water to stop the cooking.
  2. In the same sauté pan, heat your olive oil, add in your pancetta, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp-edged, about 6-8 minutes.
  3. Reduce your heat to medium-low, add in your shallots and cook another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, fill a large pasta pot with water, a pinch or two of salt, and bring to a boil. Add in your pasta. Cook your pasta according to directions on package.
  5. Before you drain your cooked pasta, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Pour ½ cup of the pasta water as well as the cooked peas into the sauté pan with the pancetta and shallots. Heat mixture over low heat, gently tossing together. Stir, taste, and add more pasta water, salt, and pepper, if needed.
  6. Serve over bowtie pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy!


  1. Oh, this was soooo good. I enjoyed this delicious dish the night before the big football game. Thanks you Carrie and family,

  2. Mmmmmm. Think I'll make this as a celebratory dinner upon eldest's return from outdoor school and second's recovery from the (whisper)H1N1 … or "pancetta flu" … we'll also celebrate three's super support of both her big sisters. Glad I got to share in these stories, first hand … I'm still kind of laughing a lot at them.
    Thanks for the inspiration! xoxo

  3. Hopp Family of 4 says:

    You said it so well, as my eldest, at this very moment, is persisently asking to watch "Accidents Happen" on YouTube and my youngest is hanging on my leg, chanting his montra "Hawllo Mummmy", "mummy, HAWLLOooo".