Pancetta & Lemon Spaghetti Parmesan

Pancetta & Pea Spaghetti Limone
Bacon and lemon is a combination that just shouldn’t work, but like bacon and so many things, it somehow just does. The salty sour hit you get from this delicious dish is balanced by the sweetness of the peas and the creamy taste and texture of the Parmesan cheese. My Pancetta & Lemon Spaghetti Parmesan is positively addictive.

It was Gwyneth Paltrow’s Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano from  ‘My Father’s Daughter‘ that inspired me to make my Pancetta & Lemon Spaghetti Parmesan. I’ve made Gwyneth’s recipe exactly as she wrote it in the past and it is lovely, but this time I changed some of the proportions of the ingredients as well as adding some extras of my own. You see, my husband and I had just returned tired and hungry from a trip. I had pancetta in the fridge that I wanted to use up (bacon would work equally well) but vegetables were a bit thin on the ground so I turned to my stash of peas in the freezer. It’s pretty rare for me to take a perfectly good vegetarian recipe and add meat to it, but on this occasion, I’m very glad I did. I used Fusilli Lunghi, a lovely curly spaghetti-like pasta, to make this dish look a little bit special, but ordinary spaghetti or linguini works perfectly well.

The recipe is the work of moments to make. In less than half an hour I had all this on the table and we were sitting in the garden enjoying a our dinner with a glass of wine on a warm summer evening.

Pancetta and Pea Spaghetti Limone dinner

Although Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano isn’t one of them, you can find lots of the recipes from ‘My Father’s Daughter’ on Gwyneth’s website. Having said that, ‘My Father’s Daughter’ is well worth adding to any cookbook collection. And whether you make Gwyneth’s version or mine, please do try this recipe. You will be very glad you did!

Bacon & Lemon Spaghetti Parmesan
Serves: Serves 2
  • 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon mild olive oil
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and finely sliced
  • ½ cup chopped pancetta or 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 6 ounces spaghetti
  • juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup grated Parmeggiano Reggiano or Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pasta water
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or dried chives
  1. Heat the teaspoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Fry the sliced leeks until they just begin to soften.
  3. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is cooked and a bit on the crispy side. Set aside to keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the package directions.
  5. Mix the lemon juice, lemon rind, Parmesan cheese, pepper and olive oil together in a small bowl.
  6. Add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water to the lemon mixture and mix thoroughly.
  7. When the pasta is three minutes away from being cooked, toss in the peas. Cook with the pasta until it is done.
  8. Set aside another tablespoon or so of the pasta water and then drain the pasta and peas thoroughly. Return to the saucepan you cooked them in.
  9. Stir the pancetta into the pasta and peas along with the lemony cheese sauce mixture. Toss to coat all the pasta with the sauce. If it seems a little dry add another tablespoon or so of the pasta water.
  10. Serve the pasta garnished with the chives.

Shared with Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, See Ya in the Gumbo

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1291 great articles for us.
April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.
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  1. I can’t say that I’ve ever had lemon and bacon together. But I want to!

  2. Yummy! I love the pictures of this dish and can imagine it as a light summer dish my family would enjoy!! Thanks so much for this recipe, I will try it out!

  3. My husband might hate me if I added lemon to his bacon, but I think this sounds perfectly refreshing and hearty. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friday

  4. I love many things about Gwyneth Paltrow’s she’s a classy lady and a pretty darn good cook in my healthy eating vain… I love that this is a recipe that can be heated up and served… my husband hasn’t been traveling as much lately, but he sure appreciates a home cooked meal no matter what time it is that he arrives back.

  5. Yum. Bacon, peas, parmesan and lemon – great combination of ingredients. I know I would love this dish. I love using that curly spaghetti – it’s one of my favourites – makes such a fun twist on a classic – I use it quite often when I make spaghetti carbonara.

  6. Bacon and lemon – to me, it is sounding like it does work even before you said it worked! :p

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