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Pasta Carbonara with English Peas and Pea Tendrils

Pasta Carbonara with English Peas and Pea Tendrils

  • Author: Maria Do
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Main Course
  • Cuisine: American, Italian


Adding English peas to carbonara are by no means classic Italian, but the combination of pancetta, peas and black pepper is. This elevated carbonara is swirled with the classic ingredients – pancetta, pecorino romano, parmesan, egg – plus the deliciously vibrant English peas and tendrils.


Units Scale
  • 8 oz dried spaghetti, fettuccine or linguine
  • 4 oz pancetta (diced into 1/2″ pieces)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan (grated, plus more for garnishing)
  • 1/2 cup pecorino romano (grated)
  • 1 egg, preferably pasture-raised for an orange yolk (beaten with a fork in a bowl)
  • 8 oz English peas (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 handful pea tendrils (aka shoots) (plus more for garnishing )
  • 3 scallions (thinly sliced on an angle, soaked in water)
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • extra virgin olive oil


  1. Cook Pasta + Peas. Drain. Cook pasta per package instructions in a large pot of water, salted until it tastes like the sea. About 1 minute before the pasta is finished, add the peas to quickly blanch them. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and peas.
  2. Cook Pancetta. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, add a healthy glug of olive oil and pancetta. Cook on medium heat until the pancetta is lightly browned, about 9-12 minutes. Season generously with black pepper (at least 1/2 tsp). Cut the heat, then pour in 1/2 cup of pasta water and stir.
  3. Temper the Egg. In the bowl with the egg, slowly pour in some of the pancetta fat and pasta water mixture while you stir to temper the egg (gently warming the egg to prevent scrambling). Pour the tempered egg mixture into the large skillet and stir to combine.
  4. Putting the Pasta Together. Add the parmesan, pecorino, scallions, and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt to the skillet. Stir to combine and pour in about 1/2 cup of the pasta water until creamy, ~1 minute. Add the cooked pasta, peas, and pea tendrils. Toss to coat the pasta in the sauce. Season to taste with more salt and black pepper as desired. Garnish with extra parmesan and pea tendrils. Serve immediately – this dish does not wait!

Keywords: carbonara, pasta