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Pasta Risotto With Peas & Pancetta

by . Featured in NIGELLISSIMA, and Nigella Quick Collection
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Introduction

Here, I cook pasta much as I would if I were making a traditional risotto. But there is a difference - that you don't have to stir constantly and that the pasta takes only 10 minutes to cook are obvious benefits to the harried midweek cook.

I love the rice-shaped pasta that is orzo - it ozzes its starchiness out into the sauce and - what's more - you need only the one pan. I advise that the pan be heavy-based: a small enamelled cast-iron casserole would be perfect although often as not I use a thick-bottomed saucepan.

Please note that the amount of water specified is a starting point only: you may need to add more if the pasta's absorbed all the water before it's cooked.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Here, I cook pasta much as I would if I were making a traditional risotto. But there is a difference - that you don't have to stir constantly and that the pasta takes only 10 minutes to cook are obvious benefits to the harried midweek cook.

I love the rice-shaped pasta that is orzo - it ozzes its starchiness out into the sauce and - what's more - you need only the one pan. I advise that the pan be heavy-based: a small enamelled cast-iron casserole would be perfect although often as not I use a thick-bottomed saucepan.

Please note that the amount of water specified is a starting point only: you may need to add more if the pasta's absorbed all the water before it's cooked.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Pasta Risotto with Peas and Pancetta
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 2 hungry grown-ups or 4 small children

Metric Cups
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
  • 150 grams pancetta cubes
  • 150 grams frozen petits pois
  • 250 grams orzo pasta
  • 625 millilitres boiling water
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon soft unsalted butter
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons grated parmesan
  • black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic flavored oil
  • 6 ounces pancetta cubes
  • 1¼ cups frozen petits pois
  • 1¼ cups orzo pasta
  • 2½ cups boiling water
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon soft unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • black pepper

Method

  1. Warm the oil in a heavy-based pan that will take everything later; a casserole or saucepan of 22cm / 9in diameter should be plenty big enough.
  2. Cook the pancetta, stirring, until it becomes crisp and bronzed, then add the peas and stir for a minute or so until the frozen look leaves them.
  3. Add the pasta and turn it about in the pancetta and peas then pour in the boiling water; I use cup measures - 2½ cups - for ease. Add salt (cautiously, especially if this is for children - the pancetta is salty, as is the Parmesan later); then turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, though check on it a couple of times and give a stir or two, to stop it from sticking and to see if you need to add a little more water from the kettle.
  4. When it's ready, the pasta should be soft and starchy and the water absorbed. Beat the butter and Parmesan into the pan, check the seasoning and serve immediately into warm waiting bowls.
  1. Warm the oil in a heavy-based pan that will take everything later; a casserole or saucepan of 22cm / 9in diameter should be plenty big enough.
  2. Cook the pancetta, stirring, until it becomes crisp and bronzed, then add the peas and stir for a minute or so until the frozen look leaves them.
  3. Add the pasta and turn it about in the pancetta and peas then pour in the boiling water; I use cup measures - 2½ cups - for ease. Add salt (cautiously, especially if this is for children - the pancetta is salty, as is the Parmesan later); then turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, though check on it a couple of times and give a stir or two, to stop it from sticking and to see if you need to add a little more water from the kettle.
  4. When it's ready, the pasta should be soft and starchy and the water absorbed. Beat the butter and Parmesan into the pan, check the seasoning and serve immediately into warm waiting bowls.

Tell us what you think

What 3 Others have said

  • A regular meal for us now. So easy, quick and tasty!

    Posted by Angiet477 on 21st July 2020
  • This is a terrific recipe, all the better for the fact that there is less washing up from cooking the pasta in the same pot as the sauce! I make this regularly for our family and double the recipe. I often also add a splash of vermouth before adding the water, as I would with a risotto. Such a tasty midweek dish - would heartily recommend!

    Posted by KMF3078 on 7th May 2020
  • Lovely with the pancetta, but just tried this with chorizo instead. Oh so, so good.

    Posted by Jules_C on 4th July 2018
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