Pancetta and peas with pasta shells featured image.

Pasta Shells With Pancetta And Peas

Easy recipe of sauteed pancetta, onions, garlic and peas with shell pasta to catch all of the delicious flavor bits.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 572kcal
Author James


  • 1 pound medium shell pasta
  • 1 pound frozen peas
  • 4 ounces Citterio pancetta
  • 1 medium onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • Cook pasta to 'al dente' (this means a firm bite, about 2 minutes less than package instructions) in salted water (2 tablespoons kosher salt per gallon of water). Reserve at least 3 cups of pasta water.
  • Dice onion and slice 5 garlic cloves. Mince a 1/4 cup of fresh parsley.
  • In a large, deep pan saute the pancetta in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat.
  • After the pancetta has rendered and released its fat (about 8 minutes) add in the onions and saute until translucent and soft (about 5-8 minutes). After the onions are soft add the garlic in and cook for 3 minutes more.
  • Add the frozen peas to the pan along with a cup of pasta water. Turn heat to medium and let the peas cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the 'al dente' pasta, stir and cook for a few more minutes. The pasta will absorb some of the pasta water. If necessary add a ladle or 2 more of pasta water.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Stir it together and taste test. Adjust salt and pepper if required, and if the pasta is still too firm continue to cook for a few more minutes and add extra pasta water if needed.
  • After the pasta is fully cooked turn off the heat and add the fresh parsley. Serve with grated cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!


  • Feel free to use double the amount of pancetta for a stronger more robust flavor.
  • Use a large, deep pan to hold all of the pasta, peas, and pancetta.
  • Make sure to reserve a few cups of the pasta water.  If the pasta dries out before serving just add a ladle full to bring back the perfect consistency.
  • Shells are recommended to catch the pancetta and peas, but any small pasta can be used.
  • Serve with grated cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


Calories: 572kcal | Carbohydrates: 88.6g | Protein: 29.2g | Fat: 15.2g | Saturated Fat: 4.4g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 1152mg | Potassium: 488mg | Fiber: 6.2g | Sugar: 5.3g | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 6mg