Tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas and pancetta; recipe from Veneto.

Tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas and pancetta; recipe from Veneto.

tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas and pancetta

Pasta coi bisi!

Pasta with fresh peas, or ‘pasta coi bisi’ in local dialect, is a traditional spring recipe here in the Northern Italian region of Veneto. This simple pasta dish is more than the sum of its parts, which are few! In fact, the first time I had this dish I was really quite surprised how tasty it is. Of course, the secret ingredient is fresh peas!

ingredients in basket for pasta with fresh peas and pancetta

The peas

Peas have been cultivated and eaten in Italy since Roman times and before. Nowadays, this tasty and healthy spring legume is an important crop in Emilia-Romagna, Puglia, Sicily, Campania and Veneto.

shelled fresh peas in white bowl

In Veneto, a number of towns or areas are famous for their peas, in particular an area of the Berici hills near Vicenza. Here, there is a local variety of peas that they say are the best peas in Italy. Lumignano peas have been grown in this part of Veneto since 1000 AD and were introduced to the area by Benedictine monks.

chopped onion, pancetta and parsley in frying pan

These peas have apparently been prized for centuries. The Doges of Venice used to order them as the primary ingredient of their ‘Risi e Bisi’ (rice and peas). A dish that was traditionally served to the Doges on the Feast of Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice.  Risi e Bisi is still a traditional way that peas are served here in Veneto.

peas, pancetta and onions in frying pan

Pea festivals!

I love the rural Italian tradition of holding annual festivals to celebrate the harvest of the main local crop. I live in the wine producing area of Soave. Soave is a beautiful Medieval walled town with a castle and every year there is the local wine festival, which we happily attend!. The area I live in is famous for cherries too, so there are also cherry festivals held annually in a number of local villages! 

fresh peas, pancetta and onion cooking in broth in frying pan

Many of the towns and villages where peas are cultivated hold annual pea festivals (sagra dei bisi) in May. The Lumignano festival is usually held in mid-May. Among others, there’s also the ‘festa dei bisi di Baone’ in the Euganean hills area near Padova and closer to where I live the ‘sagra dei bisi’ in Colognola ai Colli. Visitors to these festivals can buy and eat a number of traditional pea based dishes. The most popular are the rice and peas I mentioned before, as well as pasta with fresh peas made the same way as in this recipe.

Tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas and pancetta in frying pan

The pasta.

Traditionally this recipe is served with flat ribbon pasta such as lasagnette, tagliatelle or pappardelle. I used fresh tagliatelle. However, short pasta such as penne are good in it too.

Tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas and pancetta

Making pasta with fresh peas.

This tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas is super simple to make. All you need for the sauce is fresh peas, pancetta, onions and vegetable stock. Some people use beef stock but I prefer vegetable. After frying the onion and pancetta, you simply add the peas and the stock and let the peas cook in the liquid. The result is really tasty. I don’t think frozen or tinned peas would work so well as fresh peas take longer to cook and this is necessary for them to absorb the other flavours and for the sauce to thicken.

Tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas and pancetta in white bowl

Fresh peas are so good for you!

Of course, buying fresh peas normally means having to shell them. But, it’s definitely worth doing if you want to experience the authentic taste of this dish. Kids usually like shelling them and that might motivate them to eat them too! So, get them to help! Fresh peas are much healthier anyway. They contain a long list of vitamins and nutrients some of which may be lost when the peas are canned or frozen .

tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas and pancetta

If you make this tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas recipe I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. Please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Buon appetito!

Other spring pasta recipes.

  1. Fusilli with asparagus
  2. Poached salmon and asparagus lasagne al forno
  3. Gargati pasta with spring ragu
  4. Green pasta salad with edible flowers

Tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas and pancetta

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Tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas and pancetta

5 from 13 votes
tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas and pancetta
Tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas and pancetta; recipe from Veneto
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

A delicious spring pasta and peas recipe from Northern Italy that is simple to make and very tasty!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Northern Italy, Veneto
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, fresh peas, Italian recipe, pancetta, peas, tagliatelle, traditional italian dish
Servings: 4
Calories: 689 kcal
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
Ingredients
  • 400 g tagliatelle pasta (14oz) you can use fresh or dried tagliatelle or other ribbon pasta like lasagnette. I used Giovanni Rana fresh tagliatelle
  • 800 g fresh peas (1.5lbs)
  • 1-2 spring onions (large)
  • 80 g pancetta (3oz) cut into cubes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock you can also use beef
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh parsley chopped
  • 50 g Parmigiano Reggiano or grana (2oz) grated
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 knob butter
Instructions
  1. Shell and wash the peas. Cut the pancetta into small cubes, peel and finely chop the spring onion and chop a handful of parsley. 

  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or skillet and add the onion, pancetta and parsley. Cook over a low heat until the onion softens and the pancetta turns pink, add the peas and a cup of broth. 

  3. Season with salt (not too much as pancetta is quite salty) and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the peas are tender and the sauce thickens. About 10-15 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, boil some water in a saucepan for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Fresh pasta only needs about 3 minutes.. 

  5. Drain the pasta. add it to the pan with the sauce and add a knob of butter and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Mix everything together well and serve.

Recipe Notes

I like to fry some extra pancetta until it gets crispy and add it to the plate before serving! But you can also make this dish without pancetta for a vegetarian version.

I used fresh tagliatelle from Giovanni Rana but other pasta ribbons, such as lasagnette or pappardelle are traditional too. You can also use short pasta like penne.

Want to know more about my life in Italy? Go to the homepage and subscribe to my newsletter. New subscribers get a free recipe e-book too! https://www.the-pasta-project.com

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Tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas and pancetta

This recipe was originally published in 2018 but has been updated.

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28 Comments

  • Avatar
    Mirlene
    June 29, 2018 12:42 pm

    Beautiful dish. Looks refreshing. Love adding peas to my pasta. Looks good.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:10 am

      Thank you, Mirlene. It is a really lovely spring /summer dish. Especially perfect if you love peas and pasta!

  • Avatar
    Stephanie Simmons
    June 25, 2018 11:58 pm

    You always have the most amazing pasta dishes! Pasta’s one of those foods I tend to forget about but I’m for sure making this!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:11 am

      That is so kind of you, Stephanie! There are so many delicious recipes still to share!

  • Avatar
    Michelle
    June 25, 2018 9:20 pm

    I love pasta pancetta and peas. It’s a perfect match. Great tips on how to prepare this delicious dish. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:12 am

      They are a great combination. I am glad the tips are helpful too!

  • Avatar
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt
    June 25, 2018 5:29 pm

    What a delicious salad! The addition of fresh peas is genius. I love all the flavor here.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:17 am

      I cannot take credit for the genius of peas and pasta, it is delicious!

  • Avatar
    Mayuri Patel
    June 25, 2018 1:53 pm

    I enjoy reading about the traditional pasta dishes from regions of Italy. A wonderful insight to what ingredients different regions use to make a pasta dish. We usually make pasta with peas and other veggies added and I always thought that was an “Indian” invention! Now I can boast that peas with pasta is an authentic Italian dish 😉

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:19 am

      Absolutely, Mayuri! It is interesting to hear about the different variations across the globe!

  • Avatar
    Katie Crenshaw | A Fork’s Tale
    June 25, 2018 3:58 am

    I love this at the restaurants. Your recipe looks even more lovely. I can’t wait to make this for my family. It looks like a delicious bowl of comfort.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:20 am

      It is so easy to make, I am sure you would love it even more than the restaurant made!

  • Avatar
    Chef Mireille
    June 25, 2018 12:43 am

    tagliatelle is one of my fave pasta cuts and this quick pasta is perfect for summer!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:20 am

      It is perfect for summer and so easy to make.

  • Avatar
    Brian Jones
    June 24, 2018 7:56 am

    Peas ham and pasta, a perfect combination if you ask me… Glorious!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:21 am

      Absolutely, Brian!

  • Avatar
    Gingey Bites
    June 23, 2018 7:02 pm

    This looks so fresh and delicious, definitely one to try soon! I love pancetta and the sweetness of the peas must work perfectly.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:22 am

      The fresh peas really make it!

  • Avatar
    Demeter
    June 23, 2018 4:06 pm

    Those peas are gorgeous! Definitley the star of this dish!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:22 am

      They are lovely little gems nestled in the pasta!

  • Avatar
    Tina
    June 23, 2018 3:32 pm

    This pasta looks incredibly delicious, and easy to make. I love that you’ve included all the historical bits as it was a very interesting read.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:23 am

      Thank you, Tina. I really enjoy sharing the context to the recipes.

  • Avatar
    Julia
    June 23, 2018 2:47 pm

    Now I can eat a ton of fresh peas. When picked at the right time, it’s so sweet! Love the flavor combo in this dish.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:23 am

      You can never eat too many peas, especially freshly picked!

  • Avatar
    Claudia Lamascolo
    June 23, 2018 2:38 pm

    This pasta dish reminds me of when grandma made this as a child and I love pasta and peas it looks great

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:24 am

      That sounds wonderful, Claudia!

  • Avatar
    Natalie
    June 23, 2018 2:02 pm

    This pasta dish looks absolutely gorgeous – so colorful and rich! Perfect for a healthy dinner!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      May 4, 2020 4:25 am

      The colours in this dish are beautiful!

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