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Pasta With Pancetta, Parsley and Peppers

by . Featured in KITCHEN
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Introduction

I always have a stash of pancetta cubes in the fridge to spruce up whatever else I may have to hand, but here they rather take centre stage. If you want to use lardons instead, then do. They should be the same - the cubetti di pancetta, Italian, and the lardons, French - but for some reason the lardons are cut chunkier, and consequently a supermarket packet of them tends to weigh about 200g rather than the 140g of pancetta. Don't worry. Either pack size will do nicely here.

This may be an off-the-cuff standby but it really sings for our supper. The salt of the bacon, whichever way you cut it, is balanced fruitily by the sweet softness of the charred peppers. Against the fire of the chilli, there is the bright freshness of the lemon, though if you wanted to you could substitute some vinegary capers.

I feel the pasta's storecupboard status doesn't rule out the inclusion of fresh parsley, since my kitchen is never without it. But know that this is altogether do-able without. I should admit, too, that when you cook it the pasta will probably look slightly better sauced than it does in the photo; during the shoot I quite dopily - waiting for pasta to cook - chucked the panful of sauce into the colander by mistake, when my timer went off. Still, I salvaged most of it, and these things happen to us all.

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

I always have a stash of pancetta cubes in the fridge to spruce up whatever else I may have to hand, but here they rather take centre stage. If you want to use lardons instead, then do. They should be the same - the cubetti di pancetta, Italian, and the lardons, French - but for some reason the lardons are cut chunkier, and consequently a supermarket packet of them tends to weigh about 200g rather than the 140g of pancetta. Don't worry. Either pack size will do nicely here.

This may be an off-the-cuff standby but it really sings for our supper. The salt of the bacon, whichever way you cut it, is balanced fruitily by the sweet softness of the charred peppers. Against the fire of the chilli, there is the bright freshness of the lemon, though if you wanted to you could substitute some vinegary capers.

I feel the pasta's storecupboard status doesn't rule out the inclusion of fresh parsley, since my kitchen is never without it. But know that this is altogether do-able without. I should admit, too, that when you cook it the pasta will probably look slightly better sauced than it does in the photo; during the shoot I quite dopily - waiting for pasta to cook - chucked the panful of sauce into the colander by mistake, when my timer went off. Still, I salvaged most of it, and these things happen to us all.

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

Image of Nigella's Pasta with Pancetta, Parsley and Peppers
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 2, heartily

Metric Cups
  • 1 teaspoon garlic infused olive oil
  • 1 x 140 grams packet pancetta cubes or smoked lardons or smoked streaky bacon (snipped)
  • ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons cold water
  • 190 grams (drained weight) chargrilled or flame-roasted peppers from a jar
  • 20 grams fresh flatleaf parsley (chopped)
  • 250 grams spaghetti
  • salt (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic flavored oil
  • 1 x 5 ounces packet pancetta cubes or smoked lardons or smoked streaky bacon (snipped)
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 12 ounces (drained weight) chargrilled or flame-roasted peppers from a jar
  • 1 cup fresh italian parsley (chopped)
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • salt (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Method

  1. Put a big pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium-sized, heavy-based pan (one you can toss the cooked pasta into later). Fry the pancetta cubes or lardons (or bacon) until they start to crisp, then add the dried chilli, grated lemon zest and juice, and 2 tablespoons water.
  3. Let this mixture bubble for a minute. Scissor the drained peppers (still in their colander) into bite-sized pieces, then add these to the pan with half the chopped parsley.
  4. Salt the pasta water once it is boiling and cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Fish out a small cupful of pasta water just before you drain it. When the pasta is cooked, drain loosely and tip into the waiting pan of sauce.
  5. Toss everything together well, and add more pasta water if you need it, then season and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.
  1. Put a big pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium-sized, heavy-based pan (one you can toss the cooked pasta into later). Fry the pancetta cubes or lardons (or bacon) until they start to crisp, then add the dried chilli, grated lemon zest and juice, and 2 tablespoons water.
  3. Let this mixture bubble for a minute. Scissor the drained peppers (still in their colander) into bite-sized pieces, then add these to the pan with half the chopped parsley.
  4. Salt the pasta water once it is boiling and cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Fish out a small cupful of pasta water just before you drain it. When the pasta is cooked, drain loosely and tip into the waiting pan of sauce.
  5. Toss everything together well, and add more pasta water if you need it, then season and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

Tell us what you think

What 2 Others have said

  • It was gorgeous & fuss free. Great for mid week dinner. Watch out for the lemon juice - I added a tad bit too much.

    Posted by GwenH on 10th May 2020
  • A great choice for a quick week-night meal! My preference is for the pancetta alternative, as I find the smoky quality of bacon too assertive. Thanks, Nigella, as always for your charm, taste and super skills as a cooking goddess!

    Posted by sancarloscharlie on 7th May 2020
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