Pasta and peas (pasta e piselli) is a simple pasta dish that the whole family will enjoy. Made with frozen peas, pasta, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and bacon, it's a quick Italian recipe that is sure to please.
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Cheap Pasta Dish
One of my frugal meal planning strategies that I use every single week in my own home to use balance. The premise is to balance pricier meals with dirt cheap meals in the same week. Can families on a budget never eat shrimp, fish, or pricier cuts of meat? Not in my experience. Most families on a budget can still eat pricier items sometimes as long as it is counter balanced with a less expensive meal in the same week like this Italian pasta and peas recipe.
Meatless or low-meat simple pasta dishes are excellent choices for the menu item for the week because pasta is inexpensive, filling, and stretches a long way. Regular wheat based pasta can be found for $1.00/box. Even if using a more expensive gluten-free pasta, like I do in my own home, this pasta and peas is still low cost and delicious! Anytime you mix pasta with bacon, it's going to be yummy in my opinion.
- frozen peas or fresh peas
- extra virgin olive oil
- lemon juice
- Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano
- salt and black pepper
The frozen peas used in this dish are something that I always keep stocked in my freezer for a quick side dish or to add into fried rice, soups, etc. I am a huge advocate for keeping frugal versatile items stocked in your pantry, fridge, and freezer, and you can't beat the price and versatility of a bag of frozen peas.
The fresh ingredients like the lemon juice and grated parmesan give it that acidic kick that brings the dish to life. If it is spring and you want to substitute fresh spring peas for the frozen, feel free to do so. It will just be even more delightful and seasonal.
Simple Step by Step Instructions
1. First, cook pasta in a large pot of salty boiling water until it is al dente. No one wants mushy pasta.
2. Next, saute onion and bacon over medium heat in a large skillet to get that flavor going.
3. Then, add the garlic, salt, pepper, and peas.
4. Drain pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water. Stir in some of the cooking water, lemon juice, and olive oil, and toss with the cooked pasta.
5. Lastly, grate some parmesan cheese on top and toss pasta to combine.
Pasta with bacon and peas
- 16 oz spaghetti wheat or gluten free
- 4 slices bacon chopped
- ½ cup onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 ½ cup frozen peas or fresh peas
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil and salt liberally.
- Cook pasta according to package directions until pasta is al dente. Take care not to over cook.
- In a separate large skillet, cook chopped bacon and onions over medium heat until bacon is crisp and onion is soft.
- Add peas, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for a couple of minutes taking care not to burn garlic.
- Drain pasta, reserving a cup of water from the pasta. Add pasta to bacon and pea mixture, and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, and a little bit of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce.
- Top with grated parmesan cheese and toss the pasta to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
I think you will love this easy weeknight dinner if you are a pasta lover. If you ever make one of my dishes and post online, use the hashtag #eatwellspendsmart on Instagram and Facebook. I'd love to see what you're making. Happy cooking!