Gennaro’s Easy Pancetta Pasta with Peas

My love of Italian food is well documented on this blog. As a family we holiday in Tuscany regularly and my mum and step-dad love it so much, they are planning to  retire there in a few years time. I love the simplicity of good, real Italian food – sometimes if feels like literally two or three ingredients can come together to form the most perfect meal.


We probably eat pasta at least once a week at home. I have to admit though, when we’re busy I tend to rely on well known recipes such as pasta all puttanesca, penne with bacon and mushrooms and spaghetti bolognese and now I think about it, most of the pasta we eat has a tomato base.

This recipe, by Gennaro Contaldo, is a refreshing addition to my list of quick and easy pasta dishes. With just 5 ingredients it’s perfect for a light midweek meal. I really love Gennaro – he’s one of the reasons I rate Jamie’s Italian so much higher than most high street chains, his work behind the scenes includes training on site and menu development. I also loved him in  ‘The Greedy Italians’ with Antonio Carluccio. No only was the programme very entertaining, it was clear that he’s not only passionate about Italian food but also a great chef!


Italian brand Bertolli has long been my choice when it comes to spread – we use the bertolli with olive oil. However, before now, I hadn’t actually tried their ‘Bertolli with butter’.  It’s luxurious creaminess was perfect for this simple but delicious dish and now I’ve tried it, I  can’t wait to bake some cakes with it because I just know it’ll work perfectly.

Ingredients for Gennaro's Easy Pancetta Patsa with Peas Bertolli with Butter Gingey Bites

The original recipe can be viewed on the Bertolli website but for ease, here it is again: Ingredients (serves four)


  • 350 g farfalle pasta
  • 50 g Bertolli with Butter + extra knob
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 40 g pancetta, finely chopped (optional)
  • 250 g frozen peas
  • several mint leaves
  • 20 g Bertolli with Butter + extra knob
  • Salt & pepper to taste



  • Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.
  • Add the farfalle pasta and cook for around 10 minutes or until “al dente.” Gennaro’s tip: use lightly salted water to cook pasta in.
  • Meanwhile, heat Bertolli with Butter in a large frying pan, adding onion and pancetta. Cook on a medium heat until the onion has softened.
  • Stir in the peas and mint and some salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook on a gentle heat for about 3 minutes until the peas are cooked.
  • Drain the farfalle, then add it to the sauce with a little pasta water, parmesan, and a knob of Bertolli with Butter.
  • Make sure to mix well. Serve immediately with an extra sprinkling of parmesan if desired (and in my case, a cold glass of something alcomofrolic!)

Because we’re being healthy we skipped the parmesan. Actually, this dish was refreshingly light and I don’t think it needed the cheese. The butter, onions and splash of pasta water were enough to create a light, tasty coating for the farfalle.

*This is a sponsored post – I worked with Bertolli to recreate this recipe. Visit their website to see this one and more. However, all opinions are my own as always*  


  1. 10th June 2016 / 10:07 pm

    Gennaro is so lovely, he lives a few streets from me in Walthamstow so a familiar face locally and I had a good chat with him when we met first time – properly to speak I mean – at a Jamie Oliver event last year. I'd seen him in the street a few weeks earlier carrying a big crate of mushrooms and when I asked him about them he whipped out his mobile and showed me pictures of him in his back garden with Carluccio with the same crate of mushrooms during a film shoot for Two Greedy Italians. He said, "You should have said hello" and I replied, "well I hadn't met you then but I have now so I will do next time!"

    This looks like exactly the kind of thing my son would like for his tea!

  2. 10th June 2016 / 11:36 pm

    Love this dish, my mum always used to put peas in pasta:-) Must get some Bertolli with butter and make this!

  3. 11th June 2016 / 5:22 am

    Mmmm proper hearty comfort food, this! Peas definitely do belong in pasta dishes. Perfection!

  4. 12th June 2016 / 4:26 pm

    I love this story! He does seem like he'd be friendly if you met him in the street!

  5. 12th June 2016 / 4:26 pm

    I've had peas in my pasta too as a little girl!

  6. 12th June 2016 / 4:26 pm

    It was surprisingly light and really tasty!

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