Pasta with Grape Tomatoes, Ham and Peas

This colorful pasta dish is pleasing to the eye and palate.


  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate or other pasta of choice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, guanciale, bacon or prosciutto ends, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • A few basil leaves, torn
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for topping


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water.

While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, three turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta (or guanciale, bacon or prosciutto ends) and cook until the fat is rendered, 2-3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the wine (or chicken stock) to deglaze the pan.

Add the tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan tightly and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the tomatoes burst, 10-12 minutes. Mash up the tomatoes with a potato masher or fork. Stir in the peas and basil, then lower the heat to keep warm.

Add the pasta and reserved starchy cooking water to the sauce; toss to combine. Serve in shallow bowls, topped with cheese.

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