Orzo Pasta with peas and crispy pancetta

Recipe credit: Chef Lorenzo Boni

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High Protein

Inspired by: Letters to Juliet

This Barilla Orzo with Peas and Pancetta is a modern twist on a classic dish from the Veneto region in Italy, the same area that new-age romcom inspired by old time love stories, “Letters to Juliet,” was set in. The crispy texture of the pancetta pairs beautifully with the smooth al dente Orzo pasta and is perfect for a romantic dinner idea or make it as a side at your next al fresco Italian summer party.

Best served with Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio

Taste profile: Medium bodied, lively, and elegant. A touch of minerality lingers in the finish, with notes of lemon peel.


1/2 box Barilla Orzo pasta

½ cup Italian parsley leaves

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

¼ cup yellow onion, chopped

10 oz thawed spring peas

6 oz cubed pancetta

1 tbsp potato starch

1 tbsp water

2 tbsp vegetable oil

To taste salt and black pepper

½ cup Parmigiano cheese

For the cheese sauce

½ cup Heavy cream

½ cup Parmigiano cheese, grated

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  • For the fried parsley: Mix 1 tbsp potato starch with 1 tbsp water in a medium size bowl. Dip parsley leaves in mixture. Heat medium sized pan with vegetable oil and fry parsley leaves in oil for a few seconds.

  • For the cheese sauce: Bring cream to boil, turn off heat, add cheese and stir continuously until smooth. Set aside.

  • Place a pot of water to boil, cook Barilla Orzo pasta for 6 minutes.

  • Meanwhile in a pot sauté onion with ½ olive oil for three minutes, add peas and 2 cups pasta cooking water, bring back to boil, season with salt and pepper.
  • Process in the blender approximately 4/5 of peas with some water and parsley, place back all together [be careful processing hot sauce, always start pulsing and at low speed]

  • Meanwhile render pancetta over medium heat until crispy, discard fat.

  • Drain pasta and toss with pea mixture over high heat until sauce is perfectly coating orzo. Turn heat off, let rest 2 minutes. Fold in cheese and remaining olive oil. 

  • Serve with pancetta and Parmigiano cheese sauce drizzled over the top.

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