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Easy Pasta Carbonara with Peas and Bacon

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.

Pasta carbonara with peas and bacon served in a white bowl.

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 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 with pasta are definitely my mojo! They get tossed into a host of dishes ranging from my pasta with peas based on a classic Pasta e Piselli to salmon and pea pasta and prawn and pea pasta.

I also have a pea pesto recipe and I even stir them through my tuna pasta salad.

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.

Pasta carbonara with peas and bacon picked up with a fork.

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.

Close up tagliatelle carbonara with peas and bacon.

Serving Suggestions

As with so many of my pasta recipes, I like to keep my sides for this carbonara with peas recipe really simple.

My go-to choice is usually some garlic bread or cheesy garlic bread.

Salads are a popular side choice for pasta too, although it is not to my taste this dish would match well with the peppery vibes of a nice rocket salad.

Silky pasta carbonara with peas, bacon and tagliatelle pasta.

Equipment Used

I only mention brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ Saucepan.
  • 24cm or 10″ frying pan.
  • Colander.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Grater.
  • Chopping board.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Mixing spoons or tongs and serving spoons/forks.
Silky pasta carbonara with peas, bacon and tagliatelle pasta.
Yield: 2 Servings

Pasta Carbonara with Peas Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Delicious sweet explosions of garden pea make a wonderful addition to an otherwise traditional pasta carbonara.

Ingredients

  • 150g (5oz) Smoked Fatty Bacon or Ham
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 50g (½ Cup) Parmesan Cheese
  • ½ Tsp Black Pepper
  • 150g (5oz) Dried Pasta
  • 100g (¾ Cup) Garden Peas
  • Salt for Boiling Pasta

Instructions

  1. If you are using frozen peas run them under cold water to defrost.
  2. Cut the bacon into 4-5mm (¼") cubes.
  3. Place the cubed bacon into a 24cm or 10" frying pan over a medium heat and render down the fat and cook until golden (7-10 minutes).
  4. 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.
  5. Bring a 20cm or 8" saucepan of generously salted water to a boil (I use 1½ teaspoons of salt in a pan this size) and cook your pasta for 1 minute less than the instructions on the packet indicate.
  6. Drop the peas in with the pasta for the last 60 seconds of cooking.
  7. Drain the pasta reserving around 75ml (⅓ Cup) of the cooking liquid.
  8. Add the pasta to the bacon, and stir to coat.
  9. Remove from the heat and add the cheese and egg mix again stirring to coat.
  10. Stir through enough cooking water from the pasta to form a smooth and silk sauce.

Notes

Adapted from From My Wife, thank you darling!

 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

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.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Brian Jones

Monday 20th of August 2018

That sounds like a fun trip, this part of Europe is littered with Thermal springs, we have 4 different ones within a 20-25 minute drive from home which is a great luxury :D Every time I chat to my Australian friends the scale of getting anywhere is insane... I live in Hungary, I can drive to Venice and back going on the scenic route in less than 24 hours.

Gabby | The Tolerant Table

Monday 2nd of July 2018

I'm with you, I love how recipes adapt and change over time. I would quite happily tuck into a big bowl of this, and love the addition of the peas!

Brian Jones

Tuesday 3rd of July 2018

Thanks Gabby :)

Brian Jones

Saturday 30th of June 2018

Thanks Beth

Zahra

Friday 29th of June 2018

This looks fabulous. I will definitely pin this for later. Thanks for the recipe.

Brian Jones

Saturday 30th of June 2018

Enjoy!

Michelle

Friday 29th of June 2018

I love pasta carbonara. I haven't made it in a long time. Looks perfect with peas and bacon.

Brian Jones

Saturday 30th of June 2018

It really is, thanks Michelle.

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