Pasta Carbonara with peas may be controversial to some but those explosions of sweetness with the salty bacon and silky pasta are heaven to me.
Other than the peas this dish sticks pretty faithfully to the relatively modern Italian pasta dish that has become a firm favourite.
Classic Carbonara Sauce with a Little Extra.
Pasta carbonara is a relatively modern classic recipe, only appearing in writing in the mid 1940’s.
Origins stories range from the eggs and bacon being abundant at the end of WWII thanks to US troops through to a link to mining communities.
Carbonara with peas is often considered to be controversial! In fact, any derivation from classic ingredients seems to inspire more ire in Italian food than any other cuisine.
I care little about that though. I love those sweet explosions provided by garden peas contrasted with the sweet and salty bacon and the silky parmesan rich sauce.
Peas aside my sauce is really classic and contains no cream.
It relies on the heat of the pasta to just cook the eggs and melt the parmesan cheese. It gets an extra silkiness and seasoning from stirring through a little pasta cooking water just before serving.
If you are looking for a creamier sauce, then you should check out my creamy chicken and bacon pasta recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
What bacon should I use?
Traditionally pasta carbonara is made with guanciale Italian cured pork from the jowl or cheek area. Many online recipes suggest subbing this for pancetta.
My approach is slightly different! I love local produce and no matter where you live you will almost certainly have some great locally produced cured pork.
Use that hunt it down and cherish it. It will almost certainly be better than the overpriced export quality pork you will buy at the supermarket.
Just be sure to get something with a good amount of fat as that is really important in this recipe.
Can I use fresh peas?
Yes, of course, just drop them into the pasta water for 2 minutes rather than 1.
Why do you defrost the peas before heating?
I do this so that I am not throwing a “pea ice cube” into the pasta water because this will stop the pasta cooking.
Defrosting the peas is easy, put them in a sieve and run cold water over them. They will defrost by the time you need them if you do it as the first step.
What pasta should I use?
I personally favour tagliatelle, but fettuccini or even pappardelle work well. Spaghetti is often a recurring recommendation, but it certainly isn’t my favourite.
Cooking Hints and Tips.
Whilst this carbonara sauce with peas recipe is insanely simple there are a couple of things that can make it go horribly wrong.
First and foremost make sure you do not add the eggs to a pan over the heat.
This will almost certainly result in pasta with scrambled eggs. Whilst I am good to go for niche recipes that one is just plain nasty!
Secondly, if you are the sort of person that keeps their eggs in the fridge then bring them up to room temperature before cooking this recipe.
Finally as with all pasta recipes do no discard all of the cooking water. Adding a little into the sauce will add the final gloss to the dish.
Delicious sweet explosions of garden pea make a wonderful addition to an otherwise traditional pasta carbonara.
- 150g (5oz) Smoked Fatty Bacon or Ham
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 50g (1/2 Cup) Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
- 150g (5oz) Dried Pasta
- 100g (¾ Cup) Garden Peas
- Salt to taste (1 Tablespoon for every 4 litres of cooking water)
- If you are using frozen peas run them under cold water to defrost.
- Cut the bacon into 4-5mm cubes.
- Place the cubed bacon into a frying pan over a medium heat and render down the fat and cook until golden (7-10 minutes).
- Place the eggs and egg yolk into a mixing bowl with freshly ground black pepper and the Parmesan cheese and mix together and set aside.
- Bring a large pan (4 litres) of generously salted water to a boil and cook your pasta for 1 minute less than the instructions on the packet indicate.
- Drop the peas in with the pasta for the last 60 seconds of cooking.
- Drain the pasta reserving around 100ml (½ Cup) of the cooking liquid.
- Add the pasta to the bacon, and stir to coat.
- Remove from the heat and add the cheese and egg mix again stirring to coat.
- Stir through enough cooking water from the pasta to form a smooth and silk sauce.
Adapted from From My Wife, thank you darling!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 810Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 417mgSodium: 2737mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 62g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.