Pea & Pancetta Lumaconi Pasta

This is going to be a bit of a rush job!  But needs must and I have been promising this recipe to BigBigJoe for sooooo long!  The last time that we made this dish, I couldn’t hold the scavenging horde back and they polished the whole lot off in nano seconds.  If my memory serves me well (which is debatable) I seem to remember Max arriving home from beach soccer with his ravenous kanonies.  Sometimes, some meals are just way too important and gratifying to ‘stopThis is going -the-clock’ for blog pics!

I can’t lay claim to this recipe.  This is TrickyRicky’s knock-off of this dish that we ate at Ciao Bella Cafe Italia down in Mahatma Ghandi Drive in Durban’s famoso Point Area.  I tell you – if I didn’t have to run the gauntlet of Mahatma Ghandi (Point Road) and they had some decent supermarkets and shops down there, I would up and move to one of those beautiful penthouses overlooking Durban’s beautiful Golden Mile in a flash!  The potential of that area is astonishing and I only hope and pray that our City Manager focusses his attentions in that direction.

Ciao Bella Café is the brain child of Donatella D’Aloisio.  The food is 100% authentic Italian and should your taste buds be craving a little Italian food that is my choice of Italian Restaurant du jour!  They don’t open in the evenings but do get down there for breakfasts and lunches during the week and on both Saturdays and Sundays.  You need to book as it’s a small venue and Durbanites have already cottoned on to their irresistible food!

Lumaconi – are massive pasta shells; it means big snails in English.  They are absolutely perfect for this dish as the cavity of each shell fills up with oodles of garlicky sweet peas and crunchy salty pancetta.  This dish is both a flavour and texture bonanza in the mouth!  Not an elegant ‘eat’ by any means; this dish is best served in the pan on your table with loads of hot, crusty ciabatta and butter.

Light some candles, get out your favourite vino – crank up the Bocelli and go shamelessly Italian for one afternoon.  This dish is a paragon of simplicity but I tell you now that angels will sing, children will be conceived and bellies will groan to be freed from their belted prisons.

This is exceptional Italian cucina povera!

Lumaconi con Piselli e Pancetta

Lumaconi con Piselli e Pancetta

Lumaconi con Pancetta e Piselli

Pea & Pancetta Shell Pasta

Serves 4 Italians or 6 South Africans

I got a small bowl ready for this pasta ... you gotta be quick before the pasta gets eaten!

I got a small bowl ready for this pasta … you gotta be quick before the pasta gets eaten!

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1 x 500g packet of frozen petit pois

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

3 onions diced

4 anchovies

1 red chilli finely chopped

150g pancetta diced – you can substitute this with bacon if you like

4 cloves of crushed garlic

2 chicken stock cubes

Cracked black pepper

3 glasses dry white wine

1 x 500g box of lumaconi or conciglie

Parmesan cheese for serving



First you cook the peas – cover the bottom of a heavy based pot with olive oil.  Add 1 whole clove of garlic and cook for about one minute – the idea here is to just flavour the oil.  Don’t let the garlic brown.

Add the rosemary, a chicken stock cube, 1/2tsp cracked black pepper, the whole packet of peas and enough water to just cover the peas.  Bring to the boil and cook until all of the water has evaporated then turn off the stove.

TrickyRicky in action!

TrickyRicky in action!

Place a large pot of salted water on the stove top, cover with a lid and bring it to a rolling boil. Once it’s boiling add the packet of Lumaconi and stir.  Give it the odd stir while you are cooking – this will prevent the pasta from sticking together.

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 While this is happening you can cook the sauce.

In a large frying pan – I use my big paella pan for this – brown the pancetta in plenty of olive oil.  You need to use quite a lot of olive oil for this as there is no tomato or anything to make a sauce.

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Once the pancetta has browned add the chilli, anchovies, garlic and onion, ¾ of chicken stock cube. And brown well – you want lots of caramelisation on the bottom of the pan so be patient and brown the onion well.

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Now add at least 3 big glasses of dry white wine and using a wooden spatula scrape all of the caramelisation off the bottom of the pan.

Trickyricky sniffing the pot to make sure that all of the alcohol has cooked off.

Trickyricky sniffing the pot to make sure that all of the alcohol has cooked off.

Cook until the wine has evaporated, to check, put your face over the pan and have a sniff of the steam!  Once the alcohol has cooked off you don’t get the fumes any more.

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Add the cooked peas and the pasta shells to the pan – alternating ladels of both.

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He loves pasta!

He loves pasta!

Give it all a good stir and serve with crusty bread and great vino!

Viva la Pasta!

Viva la Pasta!

If you fancy a bit of bread making to go with this dish, try this easy olive and rosemary focaccia recipe!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Good luck to all of the Commrades Marathon Runners!

As always

Buon Appetito




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Scorpio, RED WINE, Dalmatians, VINO, my men, Mamma Estraordinaria, massive pots of pasta, la famiglia, candle light, designer Handbags, Adult Survivor, Red Lipstick, writing, drumming, painting, red RED and Pasta .... lots of it!