Pancetta, peas, wine, butter and cavatelli creates a perfect harmony, and is a traditional way to enjoy cavatelli. For me, this recipe is the essence of Italian cooking; few, simple and quality ingredients. Every ingredient adds to the dish. You have the saltiness from the pancetta, sweetness and freshness from the peas, spice from pepper flakes, richness from butter and floral fruity notes from the wine.
Pancetta is the Italian version of bacon. You could substitute bacon if you can’t find pancetta. Bacon would have more of a smoky note that you won’t find in pancetta.
One secret to this pasta dish is the fond, stuck on brown bits in the pan, that forms when cooking the pancetta. Deglazing with the wine will wash up the fond and create a rich sauce. I do think using a stainless steel pan is the best way to develop the fond. Using a non-stick pan will not create the same type of fond and browning.
Check our our cavatelli recipe here!
Pancetta and Pea Cavatelli
Salty pancetta, sweet peas, rich butter and wine create the perfect sauce for cavatelli.
Cook the cavatelli
Add cavatelli to a bot of well salted boiling water. Cook according to instructions. Fresh cavatelli should cook in around 6 minutes and 10-12 for dried.
Prepare the Pasta
Slice the pancetta into thin slice then into squares. Add to a skillet on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until pancetta is crispy. Add in peas and cook for 3-4 minutes. The peas should be tender. Add crushed red pepper then white wine. Leet cook for a minute then toss on the butter. Add the cavatelli straight from the water. You want to transfer a bit of water with them as this will thicken the wine and butter sauce.You want the pancetta to form a fond on the skillet before adding the peas. See note above for details.