What’s burning: Farfalle con Piselli e Pancetta

George Carlin  | ©N.Y. TimesThe late stand-up comedian-slash-social critic George Carlin once observed, “The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”

You know, George was right. The poor lumbering caterpillar did all of the heavy lifting, actually lots of eating, just so he/she could eventually go into total isolation encased in a silky cocoon awaiting his/her rebirth as a butterfly, then flutter away with a whole new identity — kinda like entering the witness protection program.

My alter ego, short-order cook, Lazy Person (LP), a big fan of Carlin’s by the way, has a metamorphosis of his own going on in the galley involving butterflies of a different sort.

Bag of dried Garofalo farfalle pasta | ©Tom Palladio ImagesWhat LP has captured in his culinary net is what you may know as bow-tie pasta, but here in Italy, where they come from, they’re known as farfalle (butterflies). And some of the very best you can consume are readily available in the pasta section of your grocery store. They’re from the pasta house of Garofalo, a landmark brand from Gragnano in the province of Naples, that’s been making exquisite strands and other shapes — like the farfalle — from semola di grano duro (durum wheat flour) since 1789.

By adding some peas and pancetta into our pasta-based chrysalis, these golden-yellow butterflies will explode out of their metamorphosis, dripping wet in a very tasty way.

If you’ll grab an apron AND a net, we can head into the kitchen and give LP a hand with this fluttering dish. It should take us less that 30 min. to “capture.”


Farfalla with peas & pancetta recipe graphic | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-1: Fill a medium size pot with water, cover, fire up to HIGH and bring to a boil.

Butter & virgin olive oil in skillet for frying the Flounder fillets

Step-2: In a skillet, add the olive oil and butter and fire up to MEDIUM to melt and merge.

Step-3: Add 2-3 peeled onion sections to the skillet, brown to a paper-bag color then remove.

Cubed, frozen Italian pancetta Pancetta cooking

Step-4: Add the pancetta to the skillet and let it cook until it browns.

Frozen peas | ©Tom Palladio Images Peas and pancetta cooking | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-5: Add the peas and 1/3 glass of white wine to the skillet and continue cooking for 10 min.

Pot of boiling water | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-6: Pasta water is now boiling. Uncover pot and add 1 tbsp. of sea salt to the water and drop the pasta down. Let it cook for 10 min.

Farfalle added to peas and pancetta | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-7: Pasta is now al dente. Drain and place back into the skillet with the peas and pancetta mixture.

Step-8: Add 2 tbsp. of grated cheese and sauté for 1 min.

Plated Farfalle con Piselli e Pancetta Farfalle con piselli e pancetta | ©Tom Palladio Images Fresh artisan nut bread | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-9: Plate on two dishes, sprinkle each with 1 tbsp. of the remaining grated cheese and serve with crunchy artisan nut bread.



Recommended Wine Pairing: Kalterer See Weinland DOCRitterhof Winery – Lago di Caldaro/Kalterer See (BZ), Italy

Riterhof Kalterer See Weinland DOC | ©Tom Palladio Images

Situated in the village of Kaltern (Caldaro), in the heart of the South Tyrol of Italy’s northernmost region of the Alto Adige, you’ll find the small Ritterhof Winery run by the Roner family. One of many wineries that dot the famous Weinstraße (Wine Road), Ritterhof produces and markets three separate lines of bottled grape: Ritterhof, Crescendo and Kalterer See (Lago di Caldaro). It is the latter line’s namesake blend that we find our wine pairing.

Ritterhof's Kalterer See Weindland DOC | ©Tom Palladio Images

The Kalterer See Weinland DOC is a blend primarily of Vernatsch with subtle additions of Lagrein and Pinot Nero. Ruby red to dark garnet in color, this wine has a pleasant, distinct fruity bouquet. On the palate, it’s dry, mild and harmonious with hints of bitter almonds.

Ritterhof's Kalterer See Weinland DOC paired with Farfalle pasta | ©Tom Paladio Images  Ritterhof's Kalterer See Weindland DOC and pizza | ©Tom Palladio Images

The Kalterer See Weinland DOC is a remarkably versatile, any time wine that pairs well with a variety of light meals, red meats and poultry. It did well complimenting our farfalle pasta dish and has sampled well alongside one of LP’s signature flatbread pizzas.


©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images

TPT Borsalino 2014 Color |©Tom Palladio Images



  1. Love these simple dishes – just a couple of ingredients, a little heat, and there you have it – a memorable dinner without raising anyone’s blood pressure! Just a tiny touch of chilli, to accentuate the sweetness of the peas, perhaps?

    1. Meredith — Not noted in the recipe, I did add a few red pepper flakes. I just can’t resist, but the recipe really should be void of hot spicy so the sweet peas marry well with the smokey pancetta. Give it a whirl and let me know. 🙂

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