- 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces 1/4-inch-thick pancetta, diced into small cubes
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
- 8 ounces fresh spaghetti or linguine pasta
- 1 cup low-fat milk, chill taken off
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for sprinkling
- 30 small fresh mint leaves for garnish
To prepare the fresh peas, remove the peas from their pods and set aside. For frozen peas, run warm water over to separate; drain and set aside.
In a cold, large, heavy skillet, pour the olive oil and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the pancetta, and cook over medium heat until the pancetta is crisp. Remove the pancetta and set aside.
Add the shallot to the pan, and sauté until crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to package directions (remember to salt the pasta water—
1 tablespoon of table salt per 3 quarts of water.) Three minutes before the pasta is ready, add the peas. Before you drain the pasta and peas, remove 3 cups of the pasta water and set aside.
Drain the pasta, giving it one or two shakes, but don’t shake all the water out. Pour the pasta into the pan with the pancetta and shallot. Over high heat, add 1/2 cup pasta water, 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Mix gently but thoroughly. Add the remainder of the milk and Parmesan cheese, and mix thoroughly. This should thicken the sauce beautifully! If it looks too thick or gooey, add more pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, to maintain a creamy consistency. Top with more grated Parmesan cheese, and garnish with 4 to 5 mint leaves per serving.