Easy Fettuccine Pasta with Pancetta, Asparagus and Peas
Like most good Italian-Americans, I grew up on pasta. Every Sunday, my mom would make her famous Sunday Gravy recipe, the traditional Italian pasta dish with a rich red sauce and meatballs (my mom always made it with spare ribs and Italian sausage). This pasta primavera version with pancetta makes a great little switch-up—and what a perfect way to enjoy some early spring veggies (with pasta…!) A true celebration of the season, especially if you like to shop at farmers markets, like me!
The veggies aren’t the only departure from Mom’s Sunday Gravy. There’s a white sauce on this fettuccine recipe, with a hint of lemon that really amplifies all the other fresh flavors. It’s super simple to make, too. The other difference is the meat: I’m a huge fan of the rich flavor that pancetta adds to this dish. I think you’ll love it, too. When I serve it for my family, there is rarely any left over.
Fresh Asparagus and Crispy Pancetta Make this Easy Fettuccine Pasta Recipe even Better
Fresh asparagus and pancetta are the stars of this super easy pasta recipe. You’ll toss fettuccine tossed with crispy pancetta, fresh spring asparagus, and peas. A touch of lemon adds a layer of brightness. Finish everything off with a splash of heavy cream, some grated Parmesan, and of course, fresh herbs, and people will be drooling at the kitchen door.
Now that we’re on the subject: What’s the difference between pancetta, prosciutto, and bacon?
First, what’s pancetta?
For those of you unfamiliar with pancetta, here’s a quick tutorial. Pancetta is pork belly that is salt cured but not smoked. It’s an Italian specialty and can be eaten raw (because it is “cooked” in the salt cure). It is most often sold in a slab that can be diced into smaller pieces.
You probably already know what bacon is, but just in case:
Bacon also comes from the pork belly, but bacon is smoked, giving it an earthy flavor. Bacon can NOT be served raw. Don’t try it!
Last but not least: what’s prosciutto?
Prosciutto is from the back leg of the pig. The meat there is very buttery. Prosciutto is cured for a year or more. Because of its delicate texture, it is most often served very thinly sliced, almost in paper-thin pieces.
So, that’s the difference between pancetta, prosciutto, and bacon. For this recipe, I use pancetta but feel free to cook up some bacon and substitute that if you don’t have pancetta on hand.