This pasta recipe from Cook’s Illustrated creates a delicious sauce of onion, pancetta and stock. Add dried pasta and simmer until it is barely tender, then add peas, parsley, Pecorino cheese and mint. A tasty supper and only one pan to wash!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for pancetta that is preserved with celery salt instead of nitrites. I use Imagine Organic chicken stock, which is additive-free. Make sure the cheese does not contain colour.

Cook pasta in the sauce until al dente, then add peas

Serve topped with extra cheese


2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1 onion, chopped fine

2 ounces (57 g) pancetta, chopped fine

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) table salt

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper

2½ cups (625 ml) chicken broth

2½ cups (625 ml) water

7½ ounces (212 g – about 1½ cups/375 ml) ditalini

1½ cups (375 ml) frozen petite peas

⅓ cup (83 ml) minced fresh parsley

¼ cup (60 ml) grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving

2 tablespoons (30 ml) minced fresh mint


Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, pancetta, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, 7 to 10 minutes.

Add broth and water and bring to boil over high heat. Stir in pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid returns to boil. Reduce heat to maintain simmer; cover; and cook until pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in peas and remove saucepan from heat. Stir in parsley, Pecorino, and mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, drizzling with extra oil and passing extra Pecorino separately. Serves 4.

From Cook’s Illustrated