Penne with a Pancetta, Roasted Red Peppers, Pea and Cream Sauce
Penne w Pancetta, Peas, Peppers in Cream Sauce

So, it may be January, when we all try to eat a little bit healthier, but Patrick and I had to squeeze one more rich dinner in before lightening it up. This dish, inspired by a recipe from Marcella Hazen’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, is so delicious and takes just 10-15 minutes to prepare (minus the time for roasting the peppers). You could use bacon instead of pancetta and if you want to skip the roasted red peppers, or just buy a bottle of already roasted peppers, that’s fine too.

2 roasted red peppers, diced into small pieces (directions below)
3 TB. butter
4-6 oz. pancetta, diced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 heavy cream
salt
pepper
1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan
12-16 ounces penne

Boil salted water and cook pasta according to directions on the box.

Put the butter and pancetta into a saute pan and turn the heat to medium. Cook for a minute or less, stirring frequently.

Add the thawed peas, and cook for another minutes, stirring to coast them well.

Add the little squares of red peppers, stirring for a half a minute or so.
Peas, Peppers and Pancetta

Add the cream, salt and several grindings of pepper, and turn up the heat to high. Cook, stirring constantly, until the cream thickens.

Toss the sauce with cooked, drained pasta, swirling in the grated Parmesan. Serve immediately, with additional grated cheese.

Roasted Red Peppers

Place whole peppers into the broiler for 15-20 minutes. Turn occasionally so that each side is blackened.

Place roasted peppers into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, or place them in a paper bag and tightly close the bag. Let the peppers cool and then remove skin, seeds and inner ribs and dry peppers with a towel.