Creamy Pea and Pancetta Pasta

White bowl of pasta with pancetta and peas on the worktop.

As I think it is for most people, pasta dishes like this speedy, Creamy Pea and Pancetta Pasta are the ultimate comfort food. This is a pasta dish I make when there is not much in the fridge, because it uses pantry ingredients that have really long dates on, and which I usually have to hand.

Pancetta is a hero fridge ingredient for me because whilst in it’s own right it brings a subtle, meaty, savoury porky-ness to dishes it is also a great substitute for bacon in things like my Mushroom & Bacon Egg Fried Rice and my Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette, or the lardons in my Slow Cooker Sausage & Butter Bean Casserole and my Slow Cooker Coq au Vin. And did I mention that it usually has a really, really long date on it?

Lemons too, so essential for adding zingy and acidity to things I always keep my citrus fruit in the fridge, extending their life by miles. We’re just using the zest here, leaving the un-juiced lemon to be returned to the fridge for other things.

White bowl of penne with peas, pancetta, lemon zest and shaved parmesan.
Close up of creamy pea and pancetta pasta.

As far as pantry ingredients are concerned, dried pasta, shallot (you can use white onion in a pinch) and frozen petit pois (I find them so much sweeter and less mealy than frozen peas) are a given.

As for the dairy I’ve said single cream here, but honestly use whatever you’ve already got open and in need of using up; double cream, creme fraiche and mascarpone would all work well here also. This is pantry pasta, we don’t want to be getting too precious about the ingredients.

Once you’ve got everything out of the fridge / freezer / cupboard, all you need to do is bring it all together in the pan; the sauce is quick and easy in the time it takes for the pasta to cook, and then all you have to do is stir it all together over a low heat with a little starch-rich pasta water, and a couple of bowlfuls of this Creamy Pea and Pancetta Pasta is ready for dinner in just 25 minutes!

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White bowl of penne with peas, pancetta, lemon zest and shaved parmesan.

Creamy Pea & Pancetta Pasta

  • Author: Rachel
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Category: Dinner


This easy weeknight recipe for Pea & Pancetta Pasta with plenty of fresh lemon and cream is the perfect speedy pantry recipe to make for two (or more!), ready and on the table in under 30 minutes!


  • 200g (7 oz) penne pasta
  • sea salt
  • knob unsalted butter
  • 110g (4 oz) diced pancetta
  • 1 large banana shallot
  • generous glug white wine
  • 2 large handfuls frozen petit pois
  • 4 tbsp single cream (half and half)
  • 1/2 lemon zest
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • generous handful grated parmesan, plus extra for serving


  1. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling, salted water as per the packets instructions. I usually start checking for doneness around the 12 minute mark. Drain well, and set aside along with a scant half mugful of pasta cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter over a medium high heat in a large frying pan until frothy. Add the pancetta, and cook until starting to crisp.
  3. Peel and finely chop the shallot, adding to the pan along with pinch of salt. Continue to cook until soft, not browned.
  4. Splash in a generous glug of white wine and cook for a few moments until reduced. Reduce the heat to medium low, then stir in the frozen peas, cream, lemon zest, and a good few grinds of black pepper.
  5. Stir in the cooked pasta and parmesan with a good splash of cooking water. Keep stirring and adding water, bit by bit until you have a smooth, silky sauce.
  6. Season to taste with a little more salt and pepper before serving in warm bowls.


I usually do without because I think there is enough going on, but dill or flat leaf parsley would be the herbs to add if you want to add a little more oomph.