Fettuccine with Peas, Asparagus, & Pancetta

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Fettuccine with Peas, Asparagus, & Pancetta


Fettuccine with Peas, Asparagus, & Pancetta

May 5, 2017Recipes, Spring

One of my favorite springtime vegetables is peas and of course, getting fresh ones is always a race against the clock.  Frozen ones are not bad and I use them most of the year, but nothing can beat a freshly picked, shelled pea; it just screams spring.  I had never actually eaten a fresh pea until visiting a farmer’s market in North Carolina in 2009, but it was definitely love at first taste.  That is also when I discovered this recipe and when nature has allowed, I have made this.  It is one of those recipes that can be modified without loss of flavor; as long as you have the peas, it does not matter what pasta you use, even whole wheat works well.  I have used bacon instead of pancetta and added sugar snap peas in years where the English pea yield was low.  So why not take advantage of these seasonal temperatures and enjoy a taste of spring.


  • 12 ounces fettuccine or penne
  • 3 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
  • 1 1/4 pounds asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups shelled fresh green peas, blanched 1 minute in boiling water, drained, or frozen peas (do not thaw)
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, white and pale green parts separated from dark green parts
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided


  1. Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pancetta in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon drippings from skillet. Add asparagus to drippings in skillet; sauté 3 minutes. Add peas, white and pale green parts of green onions, and garlic; sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Add vegetable mixture, 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, dark green parts of green onions, 1/2 cup Parmesan, cream, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, half of parsley, and half of basil to pasta. Toss, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if needed. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle pancetta, remaining parsley, and basil over. Serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese.