Peas and Pancetta (or piselli con pancetta) is a simple side dish that adds a touch of elegance to your dinner table. Can be made ahead and reheated right before serving.
My uncle Tony was an incredible cook and would make this side of peas and pancetta and it turned whatever he was serving into something special. It’s so simple to make, that when I asked for the recipe he gave me a look. That look meant no recipe was needed and to just do it. It turns out he was right.
The steps are pretty basic and with the convenience of frozen peas, there’s no excuse not to make this dish any time of the year. I’ve added my own touch for this recipe by adding some orange juice. Actually, I use orange juice concentrate and I always keep in in my freezer. I use it to make my orange vinaigrette, quinoa salad, cranberry orange scones, sticky teriyaki wings, cranberry sauce, and my adobo slow roasted pork. Grab a can and stick it in your freezer and use it for a more concentrated flavor.
The orange juice mixes with the rendered fat and shallots creating a vinaigrette that blends well with the saltiness of the pancetta. A touch of pepper delivers just enough heat to make it interesting. Want to live on the edge? Add some crushed red pepper too.
The trick to perfect Peas and Pancetta?
When you order your pancetta at the deli, have them slice it thin. Pile them all up and dice them. You’ll have lots of thin bits which not only delivers better texture, it guarantees that delicious salty flavor in every bite. I find it preferable than having chunks that can turn out to be a little chewy.
I know my uncle would have enjoyed my version of peas with pancetta. He taught me cooking was creating something delicious without worrying too much about rules and recipes. Spend time cooking with your family. Learn from them, teach what you learn, and share the love.
Peas and pancetta is a perfect addition for your Thanksgiving menu. But, don’t just wait for Thanksgiving, serve whenever you want a simple and tasty side.
Try some other delicious sides:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan
- Green Beans Almondine
- Glazed Spiced Baby Carrots with Pecans
- Roasted Baby Potatoes with Rosemary and Thyme
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Life is too short for mediocre food.
Peas and PancettaPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 10 ounces frozen peas
- 1 shallot halved and thinly sliced
- ¼ pound pancetta sliced thin then diced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
- ¼ cup orange juice or 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
- Pinch of pepper if not using crushed red pepper
- Pinch of Kosher salt if needed
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the pancetta until browned and crispy. This takes about 3 - 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta from the skillet and set it aside in a bowl.
- Add the shallot and crushed red pepper, if using, and cook until shallots are softened and starting to brown - about 2 - 3 minutes.
- Stir in the orange juice. It will bubble and mostly evaporate but the flavor will already be added. If using frozen orange juice concentrate, just stir in until it melts. It’s already concentrated eliminating the need to evaporate the liquid. Just mix it in.
- Add the peas and cook for 3 - 5 minutes until peas are warm. Add pepper and taste before adding salt. The pancetta is a little salty, but season with a pinch of salt if you wish.
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