spaghetti with sugar snap peas and pancetta – getting ready for a wedding party

by Michelle


I was going to name the post “I’m Late” but given the multitude of places that could take your imaginations, I decided on a more direct title. The truth is I’m not late my peas are. Most gardens have finished with their peas and have been replanted with something to soothe the soil. I didn’t plant as early as my farmer friends so my peas are just coming now. I suspect the hot weather will slow down my harvest but, none the less, we’ll enjoy them while we can.

Ralph and I are in total ‘wedding reception 2014 preparation’ mode. The excavator arrived yesterday morning at 6 am. Being used to absolute silence while we sleep, the motion sensor blaring up the driveway had us up and dressed at the speed of light! We’re landscaping the front pasture around our new swimming hole. Well, it’s not actually a swimming hole, yet… It’s more of a murky impossible to access body of water in the middle of the field. By the end of the week, the banks will be level and sloped out to a manageable, mowable grade with the pasture smoothed around it. Once that’s done we’ll seed it. We’re also accessing water for the pond from a brook behind the house that had completely filled in with alders. I watched yesterday as the excavator cleaned those trees out of there in less than an hour. It would’ve taken Ralph and I all summer to cut them down with a chain saw. Then we would’ve had to pull up the roots… We’d have been there forever!

Some of the top soil from the front pasture will be used to finish off my new perennial bed in the south pasture. I planted the garden around the chicken coop too tight so after four short years, I already need to dig it up to give it some breathing room. Also, because the south pasture is completely exposed the current flowerbeds receive fourteen hours of full sun. Flowers need some shade to slow down their growing season so I’ll also be planting a couple of strategically placed canopy trees to cool things off a bit.

Last fall, after the new garden was marked out and sod was skimmed, we had an excavator remove all of the large boulders. Then Ralph covered it with the last of our composted horse manure to sit for the winter. In the spring, he tilled it into the soil. Since then I’ve been pulling weeds and picking rocks. Yesterday, I finished just in time for my lovely dump truck loads of top soil to arrive. I’ll do most of the soil preparation myself. Although if I look pathetic enough, Ralph usually feels sorry for me and help’s when he’s able! I’m not complaining in any way. I love building a new garden. Something else to care for…

Ralph’s job is the barn. The roof will be painted, new windows installed and new board siding will be put up. Luckily for us, Dad’s helping!

Some parents rent a hall…


This dish is my summertime spin on the classic tagliatelle con piselli, pancetta e panne. Piselli is peas in Italian. I substituted sugar snap peas for the traditional and time consuming pod peas. I love the idea of eating pods and all!  Instead of a cream based sauce, I used extra virgin olive oil and added fresh baby spinach, radish slivers and mint leaves to the pancetta. The delicate spinach is added at the same time as you toss the pasta so it is only wilted from the steam of the dish. If you’re trying to cut down on your carbs, prepare this dish without the pasta and serve it as a warm salad or veggie side dish. This dish is quick and full of delicious summerness! It’s all about enjoying the sun and, more importantly, getting ready for Meggie and Theo’s wedding reception!


Spaghetti with Sugar Snap Peas and Pancetta
Serves 2

8 thin slices pancetta
1 ½ cups sugar snap peas
2 large handfuls baby spinach
2 clove of garlic, slivered
1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 radish, thinly sliced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, torn

150g dry pasta

Reggiano-parmigiano for grating

Prepare pasta according to manufacturer’s instructions.

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Add pancetta and cook until almost crispy.
Add garlic, dried chillies, salt and sugar snap peas and sauté for three minutes.
Remove from heat then add cooked pasta and spinach.
Toss well and plate.
Garnish with slivered radish and torn mint leaves.
Serve with grated Reggiano

THE LOVE: Keep your heat at medium so that the pancetta has time to render all it’s fat without burning.

printable recipe

pasta 1

one year ago: jumbo shrimp and mango salad

two years ago: grilled trout stuffed with fennel fronds and lemon wedges

bite by michelle

Thanks for reading.