Creamy Pasta With Smoked Bacon and Peas Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Jamie Oliver

Adapted by Alex Witchel

Updated Oct. 16, 2023

Creamy Pasta With Smoked Bacon and Peas Recipe (1)

Total Time
About 15 minutes
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This elegant riff on a childhood favorite came to The Times in 2009 by way of Jamie Oliver, the British chef and cookbook author. It was featured in his cookbook “Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals," and it's a favorite of his daughters, Poppy and Daisy. It's wholesome (no powdered cheese!), and it can be ready in about 15 minutes. —Alex Witchel

Featured in: Putting America’s Diet on a Diet

Learn: How to Make Pasta

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Yield:4 to 6 servings

  • Sea salt
  • 10slices smoked bacon or pancetta
  • 1pound dried mini-shell or other small pasta
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 1tablespoon butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2cups frozen peas
  • 2tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • 2tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 6ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

675 calories; 34 grams fat; 13 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 14 grams monounsaturated fat; 4 grams polyunsaturated fat; 66 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams dietary fiber; 4 grams sugars; 28 grams protein; 749 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Creamy Pasta With Smoked Bacon and Peas Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Bring a large pot of lightly salted to a boil. Meanwhile, cut sliced bacon crosswise into thin slivers, or slice pancetta into julienne. Add pasta to boiling water and cook to taste.

  2. While pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat, and add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter. Add bacon or pancetta and a sprinkling of pepper, and fry until golden and crisp. Immediately add frozen peas and stir for a minute or two. Add crème fraîche or heavy cream and chopped mint.

  3. Step


    Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, and drain the pasta. Add pasta to the skillet and stir. Add lemon juice, and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat. The mixture should be thick; if desired, a splash of the pasta water may be added to the sauce to thin it slightly. Add Parmesan and stir to mix. If desired, serve with a green salad.



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Cooking Notes


Here's a secret(?) about peas. You don't really need to cook them. They are their most delicate and delicious when they are just heated through. I always add them to any hot dish at the very last minute and keep them on the heat only long enough to thaw them heat through. If you can get the knack of this, it will change the way you think about peas. They pop in your mouth with flavor and texture and have no hint of the pastiness that peas get when cooked too long.


Please guys when a recipe says bacon think pork flavoring meat in any form you like. Ham bacon pancetta prosciutto hocks. Chorizo? Yes. Hot dried salami? Yes. Work it how you like it. This is fifty dishes not one. Frozen peas I dump in a strainer and drain the pasta over. You do it your way. Mint and peas love each other. Crema cream creme fraische sour cream yogurt you pick. Orecchiette or shells nice. Mezze rigatoni sure. Spaghetti? If that's what you got? Sure.


Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I didn't change a thing - made just as is.

*Don't fret over things like 'is the bacon thin or thick sliced'. If you do, you'll never be a great cook. An okay cook, maybe, but not a great cook. Cooking is a creative process, not a precision exercise.


Made this last night for dinner. Excellent! I used orecchiette and it held the peas and sauce in them like little cups. Didn't measure a thing, just kept it close to the recipe and tasted as I went. Some folks just need to relax about the measuring and just use their palette. Hard to learn much about cooking if one is always tied to an exact recipe. Cook. Taste. Breath. Eat pasta.


I made this tonight with diced pancetta, finely chopped leeks, fresh blanched peas. Omitted the mint, added crushed red pepper flakes and big rigatonis. With a nice green salad and a glass of white wine, this was a dinner worthy of a very good Italian restaurant. A keeper.


It's bacon. It's always "to taste."


I buy bacon at the butcher and occasionally at the supermarket. It's pretty standard in size. Just use 10 slices and breathe ..... :)


Simple, delicious, and, for the full effect, don't skip the mint. It adds a powerful delicacy and lifts this dish to new heights.

Curtis Jackson

It's 2016. Can't we have measurements for everything? You rightfully don't say "4 handfuls of small pasta"; you say "1 pound". So why say "10 slices of bacon" instead of e.g. "8 oz sliced bacon"? I'll wager that a thick slice of bacon weighs about 3x as much as a thin slice, so it actually does matter.

Shane Schmidt

This is a winner. I cut the pasta and bacon in half; used more cream, (slightly) less cheese, a couple tablespoons butter, 12 oz peas, lemon juice, salt, & a healthy dose of black pepper. No olive oil (no need) & no mint (forgot it, didn't miss it). It took 15 minutes. Awesome!

Tips: If you are going to try the full recipe, use a huge frying pan. Don't drain the bacon fat after frying. (I did trim a lot of bacon fat before frying). Do save some pasta water. It came in handy.

Evelyn Tan

This is Jamie Oliver’s recipe. He is a Brit. It isn’t dishes like this one but portion size, lack of exercise, junk food and processed, sugary food put together that lead to obesity.


I'm assuming this is a joke...


Great, simple, delicious recipe! Try 1/4 cup of ricotta cheese (as in Marcella Hazan) instead of cream for one of my favorite comfort food recipes.


One of the many veggie and pasta dishes that my mother used to make and that I raised my kids on. Any handful of ham will also work--maybe with half a sauteed onion. I love Jamie Oliver for pointing out how quick an easy it can be to feed people if you just know a few basic things.


Add mushrooms


Added half an onion, used dried mint instead of fresh, and subbed chicken sausage sliced thin! Delish and quick!


Added asparagus and more lemon juice and left out the cream. I also added a lot of peeper. It was very good!


One of my favorite recipes for a quick dinner on nights . I’ve used Slovenian sausage, sweet Italian or country bulk sausage, and hard salami. If you use yogurt add it at the end so you don’t cook it and have it separate. Half and half and evaporated whole milk sub in for the heavy cream. If you need a little thickening, Wondra flour sprinkled into the sauce and stirred in works well or just use all purpose flour and the milk mixed before adding.

Penny Desmond

This is a lovely and very easy dish, and the best part is my twin 2yo toddlers love it! Great family dinner.

added sliced apple over farro….yummy

Used snow peas in lieu of green peas, added 1 tsp chili flakes…yummy


Delicious although I feel like i should have put in more pancetta or less pasta. I always just assume a bag of pasta is a "pound" but I really never know lol. Also my pancetta wasn't smoked sooo maybe that would have helped too.


This was a strange dish. My bacon produced about a cup of rendered fat, and I couldn’t imagine leaving it all in. The small amount of heavy cream added nothing. So the end result was bacon grease-y mouthfeel with a sharp lemon hit. I think British bacon must be much more lean than American bacon, otherwise this recipe makes no sense.


I wanted to like this - it was just okay. I thought the heavy cream and mint would be a nice touch but I didn’t really like it. I think a carbonara would have been better than the heavy cream , it felt very lackluster and the mint tasted out of place. I won’t make this again.


Was a bit greasy. I would just use the pork fat and butter next time. The peas will only take a minute at most. The mint is a must; otherwise would be bland. Used lots of pepper as well. Pretty basic. Good flavor but nothing special.


for next time: more cream and salt, less parm. and maybe a coarser chop in the mint


I made this as directed (with one exception), and would probably not make it again. It tasted OK, but was not very creamy, even with adding about 1/2 to 3/4 cup cooking water. For the amount of fat and calories, I would prefer regular stovetop mac and cheese with cubes of cooked ham but that is personal preference. I did not season the pasta/bacon mixture before adding the cheese, as I knew cheese would add a ton of salt.


Delicious and easy. My one change was it needed more than 2 Tbsp of cream. Just wait until the end and add dashes until it looks like more of a sauce.


Whatever you do, don't do what I did and drain off the bacon grease. You will end up with a very strange dish. The parmesan is all cobwebby, and there is no creamy sauce. It's edible, but only if you're really hungry. Not good cooking.

Karen O.

I riffed on this to match what I had on hand. For the meat I cooked matchstick slices of Canadian bacon in bacon grease I had set aside. Basil instead of mint. I used a lot more cream than called for - at least twice as much. Wonderful Sunday night supper; I treasure recipes as flexible as this one.


Followed exactly but drained the bacon fat and used mascarpone instead of creme fraiche. Perfect with a salad. Everyone had seconds including picky toddler.

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Creamy Pasta With Smoked Bacon and Peas Recipe (2024)
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