Buttery Bacon and Peas Pasta
This buttery bacon and peas pasta is a great summer meal, with tons of flavor without feeling super heavy. Serve it alongside some summer veggies, and it’s a delicious dish to put on the table for a hot day.

“Lindsey, you don’t have to cook. I would have DoorDashed something for lunch,” our young, Gen Z houseguest told me as I fired up my stove this week.

I mean, yeah, I guess I could have let him do that, but where’s the fun in eating lukewarm fast food in your own home when you have a new person to try a recipe out on?

I assured him that not only did I not mind cooking, but he was about to become one in a long line of my guinea pigs for new recipes. He didn’t argue with me too much.

As I flipped through my possible meal choices, I knew I wanted to stick to something that was filling without feeling overly heavy and definitely something that avoided preheating my oven, if I could help it.

I landed on a pasta dish that, while certainly not light by calorie or flavor standards, really fit the bill for lunch on a hot day, and it even sported just a little bit of green veggies so we could pretend we weren’t eating copious amounts of delicious butter and bacon sauce.

This recipe comes from the blog “Serving Dumplings” by Anna Chwistek. You can find her original post at https://www.servingdumplings.com/recipe/orecchiette-with-crispy-pancetta-and-peas/. I added extra seasoning in my version below, along with changing up some of the amounts of other ingredients.

Buttery Bacon and Peas Pasta

This buttery bacon and peas pasta is a great summer meal, with tons of flavor without feeling super heavy. Serve it alongside some summer veggies, and it’s a delicious dish to put on the table for a hot day.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: bacon, bread crumbs, butter, frozen peas, garlic, minced garlic, orecchiette, pancetta, panko, parmesan, parmesan cheese, parsley, peas, red pepper flakes, summer lunch, summer pasta, thick-cut bacon, thick-sliced bacon


Pasta Ingredients

  • 16 ounces orecchiette pasta or another small pasta shape
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces thick-sliced bacon or pancetta diced
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 12 ounces frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup parmesan freshly grated

Topping Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 3-4 tablespoons parmesan freshly grated
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions, saving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid when you drain it.
  • While the pasta cooks, prepare the topping. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, stir in the panko, and stir continuously, sauteing for several minutes until the panko is golden brown.
  • Transfer the panko to a bowl and stir in the parsley, parmesan, salt and pepper. Set it aside.
  • In the same large skillet, begin preparing the pasta part of the dish by heating the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
  • Add the diced bacon and saute until it’s cooked through. Add the garlic and saute for another minute and then add in the frozen peas, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, letting the peas thaw and everything meld for about three or four minutes.
  • Add in the cooked orecchiette, parmesan and about half of the reserved cooking water. Stir until everything is well coated and the cheese is melted. If you need a little more liquid, use the rest of the water. This will not be a thick, creamy sauce. Instead, you’ll have a light, delicious coating.
  • Serve the pasta hot, with a nice sprinkling of the panko mixture on top.

Like I said, this is decidedly not a healthy recipe (you’ll notice that none of the bacon fat is drained off, for instance), but it was really, really good, and our teenage visitor even went back for seconds.

The flavor of the bacon and butter, alongside the brightness from the peas was a great summer lunch. I also paired it with a simple side of sauteed zucchini and summer squash to try to get a few vitamins into our lives.

It is a little on the drier side when you reheat this, but I didn’t mind it. If that’s not really your cup of tea, you could always melt a little more butter to stir into it when you eat it for leftovers.

I would say making a from-scratch meal is certainly not as easy as firing up Door Dash, but I don’t think any of us would have gotten a meal like that from an app.

This piece first appeared in print on July 4, 2024.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.