Pasta, Bacon and Peas

Chow on 11.16.09
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What they say is absolutely true...everything is always better with bacon! This is a simple pasta dish that's smoky, creamy and will peas...errr...please everyone at the table.

This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from Marcus Samuelsson's brand new cookbook called New American Table called "My Mother's Spaghetti with Peas." Though by now you know I didn't use spaghetti and clearly I placed bacon front and center prominence in the dish, not the peas!

Samuelsson is a brilliant chef and co-owner of New York City's Riingo and Aquavit restaurants and I'm loving some of the more simpler recipes that are found in this book.

While the original recipe calls for pancetta, I've used bacon. It was on sale at the market and my mama taught me to never pass up good bacon on sale.


Pasta, Bacon and Peas Recipe

I've used an interesting shape of pasta called casarecci, though you could use any type of fresh or dried pasta shape. The original recipe called for turning off the heat and tossing the cooked pasta with egg yolk, but just to be safe for kids, I've modified the recipe so that the egg mixture is cooked.

Adapted from New American Table by Marcus Samuelsson

4-6 servings

1 pound dry pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons heavy cream
zest of 1/2 lemon
4 slices bacon, cut until 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, rinsed under warm water to defrost
salt and freshly ground black pepper
torn fresh basil leaves

1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and toss with the olive oil.

2. While the pasta is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, heavy cream and lemon zest.

3. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon pieces and cook until the bacon is crisp and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon and remove the bacon, keeping as much of the bacon drippings in the pan as possible.

4. Return the pan (with the bacon drippings) to medium heat. Add the onions and saute until the onions are softened, about 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute an additional 30 seconds until fragrant.

5. Turn the heat to medium-high and whisk in the egg/cream mixture. Let the sauce bubble briefly and then quickly add in the pasta, peas and the cooked bacon (you don't want too much of the egg/cream mixture to evaporate, so work quickly)

6. Toss so that the ingredients are well mixed throughout. When the pasta is heated through (about 4 minutes) season with salt and pepper to taste (go easy on the salt - remember the bacon is salty and you've salted the pasta water.) Toss well with the torn basil leaves and add additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.