When you feel you have nothing to cook, look to the season for inspiration. This spring-ish weeknight dish combines smoky bacon with sweet peas and leeks for a sophisticated supper in a snap. This recipe calls for bacon, but pancetta or prosciutto would work nicely as well, and if leeks are not on hand, shallots or onions are a fine substitute.


  • kosher salt
  • ¾ lbs mezze rigatoni , or other short tubular pasta
  • ¼ lb bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh peas, or 1 cup frozen baby peas
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • ¾ cup grated Grana Padano, or Parmesan cheese


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of the salt and return to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions.
2. While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce: Cook the bacon until crisp in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring often to make sure the bacon does not burn, about 4 minutes. Remove the bacon and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels.
3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat, add the leeks to the skillet, and sauce over medium-low heat until they are translucent, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the pasta and peas directly to the skillet and toss to coat. Increase the heat to medium-high, sprinkle in the bacon, and toss again, adding 1/4 cup of pasta water or more (up to 1 cup), as needed to loosen up the sauce. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
5. Plate in bowls and sprinkle with parsley. Pass the grated cheese at the table.




Colu Henry


4 servings




European : Mediterranean : Italian