Peas and pancetta is a really easy Italian side dish (using fresh or frozen peas) that makes the perfect side or addition to pasta. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare peas and it is so full of flavor. With diced pancetta, peas, garlic, shallots, and a little olive oil, this traditional Italian side dish is fancy enough to serve during the holidays and simple enough to serve during the week.
Why you'll love this peas and pancetta recipe
This peas with pancetta recipe is a very simple Italian side dish that requires only a few ingredients. The Italian bacon (pancetta) adds so much flavor to the peas while the shallots and garlic help round it all out. It is just so delicious!
We love pancetta in our house because it adds so much flavor to so many meals. We have so many favorite pancetta recipes is this one is at the top of our list.
I know lots of you are always at a loss for how to prepare peas and the best way to add flavor to an often overlooked vegetable. This Italian peas recipe will take care of both those issues.
This peas and pancetta recipe also makes a wonderful addition to pasta. If you love this as a side dish, you will really love it served over your favorite pasta too!
Pro-tip: To make this into a peas and pancetta pasta, make the recipe as listed below then reserve 1 cup of pasta water when cooking your pasta. Add the peas and pancetta to the cooked pasta then add a little reserved pasta water to the pasta and mix it all together. Serve with freshly grated parmesan on the side.
Ingredients you will need
- Peas. Fresh or frozen will both work fine.
- Pancetta (Italian bacon). Diced.
- Fresh garlic.
- Olive oil.
- Kosher salt.
- Chicken stock. You just need a little bit. If you do not have this on hand then a little water will work too.
- Red pepper flakes.
How to Make Peas with Pancetta
The first thing you want to do when making this recipe is to heat a saute pan over medium heat with some olive oil and cook down and render the pancetta. The pancetta is ready when it is nice and crispy and it has released some of its fat.
This adds so much flavor to the peas!
Now you are ready to cook those shallots and garlic. The shallots will cook down very quickly in the pancetta grease, making a really delicious flavor base for those peas.
The very last step is adding the peas to the cooked pancetta and shallots. I most often use frozen peas for this recipe so I will cook the peas until they are hot all the way through.
This peas and pancetta recipe is so easy and so simple.
Tips for making this recipe
- I prefer to buy pancetta that is already diced and packaged. You can usually find this in the specialty cheese and meat section of your grocery store. If you cannot find it there, you can also order a thick piece of freshly cut pancetta from the deli section and dice it up at home.
- If you are not familiar with cooking pancetta, it is similar to cooking bacon. Just place it in the pan over medium heat and heat it through until crisp. For this recipe, we want all the oil and flavor from the fat that is rendered from the pancetta so we will leave that in the pan for the peas to cook in. If you want the pancetta on its own (without the grease) you can just remove the pancetta onto a paper towel and discard the rendered fat.
If you are looking for ways to change up this peas and pancetta recipe, here are some ideas:
- Use bacon instead of pancetta. If you cannot find pancetta, smoked bacon will work just fine. Just make sure to cut up the bacon into small pieces before cooking.
- Omit the shallots. So much of the flavor in this peas and pancetta recipe comes from the pancetta. If don't have shallots you can just omit them from the recipe and it will still be amazing.
Here are some of our favorite things to pair with these peas and pancetta:
More recipes with peas
Peas with Pancetta and Shallots
- 3 cups peas frozen or fresh
- 4 ounce pancetta diced
- ¼ cup chicken stock you can also use water.
- 1 shallot diced
- 2 cloves of garlic diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste.
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- In a medium saute pan over medium heat add the olive oil, red pepper flakes and pancetta.4 ounce pancetta, 1 tablespoon olive oil, pinch of red pepper flakes
- Cook until the pancetta starts to turn crispy.
- Now add the shallots to the pan and cook until translucent.1 shallot
- Add peas, garlic, salt and chicken stock to the pan and mix well.3 cups peas, ¼ cup chicken stock, 2 cloves of garlic, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Cook for about 5-10 minutes or until the peas are a brigh vivid green and cooked all the way through.
- Taste for any additional salt needed.
- Sereve immediately.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here
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