Things I have been cooking lately #99: Penne with peas, pancetta and pesto

I am a big fan of Leon’s fresh, healthy meals and snacks and now that there’s one at the bottom of my new building I will admit to visiting it quite often for lunch. I was lucky enough to get the Leon: Fast Suppers mini recipe book, which I have been coveting, for my birthday. This is the first recipe I tried from the book and Mr O and I were both impressed by how absolutely delicious something so simple could be. A great mid-week dinner, packed with flavour.

Penne with peas, pancetta and pesto

5 cloves of garlic
2 onions
250g smoked pancetta lardons
3 tablespoons of olive oil
350g frozen peas
4o0g penne
4 tablespoons of red pesto

Put a large pot of salted water to boil over a high heat. Peel and finely chop the garlic and onions.

Fry the garlic and onions in the olive oil in a large heavy based frying pan over a medium heat for five minutes. Add the pancetta and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the peas and stir well to coat them with the oil. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the peas are cooking add the penne to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of the cooking water. Return to the pot with the reserved water to keep it moist. Stir in the pesto and then the pea mixture. Serve immediately with a little parmesan grated over the top.

Serves 4



  1. In Holland we say :’lekker’

    1. Abbi

      And also in South Africa where I grew up! 🙂

  2. looks so yummy – I dont eat much pasta but I do crave it quite a bit!

    1. Abbi

      I liked it so much I have already made it again!

  3. Bow tie pasta, garlic, asparagus, prosciutto, parmigiano reggiano, frozen peas, and basil (add some of the starchy pasta water to help melt the cheese and bind everything). Give it a try, it’s absolutely delish!

    1. Abbi

      Ooh wow! Sounds delicious!

  4. Yum! What a fantastic combination. I’m definitely craving some pasta right now.

    1. Abbi

      Somehow the saltiness of the bacon with the sweetness of the peas just works.

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