Wednesday, May 28, 2014

One Pan Prep: Orzo with Pancetta and Peas

One Pan Prep: Orzo with Pancetta and Peas

One pan prep is probably one of the best things to hear for a short-cut type of cook. It's right up there with "don't worry, the potatoes are already peeled" and "I think we'll just order pizza instead." It's the kind of thing that only produces a good meal every so often, but when it does magic happens. The kind of thing that dreams are made of.

This dish has a simple charm and is filled with kinda sweet and crunchy, salty bites that make you hope the bowl is bottomless. It starts with like, 3 or 4 ingredients and only one pan and will probably make your week a little/a lot better. Trust.

I dreamed this recipe up after making some prosciutto wrapped asparagus when someone asked me the difference between pancetta and prosciutto. I gave a sort or half guessing/half made up response and then decided it was silly that I didn't have a textbook answer. I needed to come up with a recipe for pancetta ASAP.
Here is the difference between the two:
Pancetta (pan-CHEH-tuh) is basically the Italian version of bacon. Instead of being smoked and cured, like bacon, it is simply cured with salt or spices or a combination of the two. It is sold raw and called to be cooked in most recipes. You can find pancetta sold in little cubes or slices, either will do for this recipe!
Prosciutto (pro-SHOO-toh) is an air-dried Italian ham cured in salt. It can be sold as two different types the first is called cotto which is sold cooked, and the second is crudo witch is "raw" but because of the curing process is ready to eat, similar to ham. Prosciutto is sold in paper thin slices and is delicious as an appetizer with fresh melon or figs or cooked asparagus.

For this recipe I used one whole package of pancetta and sliced in up into little squares to make the perfect crispy pieces to be tossed in with the pasta and peas.

For the prep there is almost no way to mess up this meal. All that needs to be done for the pasta is to cook it according the the directions on the package you buy. When I was cooking this orzo I found that it foams up a lot more than other pastas so it's good to break out that old trick, when you place a wooden spoon over the top of a boiling pot it will NEVER boil over. It will look like it is going to but it won't! Proof:

After I drained and set my pasta aside I coated it lightly with some olive oil so it would stay separated and not get sticky while I was cooking the pancetta. After the pasta is cooked this meal comes together in like 5 minutes, seriously, so easy!! since I used the whole package of orzo pasta my recipe cooked up enough for about 5 people but one of the great things about this course is that it can be chilled and served the next day pasta salad style! Yummm
The peas and pancetta compliment each other so well it's insane. The ever so slight sweetness of the peas next to the crunchy salty pancetta are a match made in Italian heaven. Throw some perfectly al dente orzo in the mix and you have a possibly flawless meal on your plate. If you are someone with an aversion to peas this recipe just might change you whole life. Give peas a chance. 

When I served the pasta into individual bowls I topped it off with a mixture of Parmesan and Romano cheese. Let's just say that I may have heard some angels singing... or something like that. 

So, I guess I'll let you know exactly how to brew this up! Remember, only one pot!

Serves: 3-5       Prep time- 5 Minutes       Cooking time- 15 Minutes       Total Time- 20 Minutes


  • 1 Package Orzo Pasta
  • 1 1/2 Cup Peas (fresh or frozen, thaw if frozen)
  • 1 Package of Pancetta (mine was 3 ounces)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese for top


  1. In large pot make pasta according to instructions on package
  2. Drain and set aside
  3. In same pot drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pot and place over med-high heat on stove
  4. Slice Pancetta into small pieces, add to pot and cook until crisp
  5. Turn off heat and add peas to pot
  6. Add pasta back into pot, stir until peas and pancetta are distributed evenly and drizzle remaining olive oil over top
  7. Serve warm or save and serve cold, top with cheese if desired

and here you are, a finished product-

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! 
You can find this recipe on ZipList HERE

Thanks for reading and spending some time with me today, until next time.

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  2. great idea for fast simple dinner! I'm going to try this


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