This simple pasta may be easy to make, but it’s still impressive served for friends at a dinner party. The recipe comes from Romeo Salta’s The Pleasures of Italian Cooking, which is now out of print, but is worth tracking down a used copy if you can. The recipes, like this one for noodles with peas, are uncomplicated but elegant and delicious. It’s a perfect “I have nothing in the cupboards” kind of dish, and you probably already have everything you need to make it: peas, bacon, onion, fettuccine, and parmesan. The recipe is endlessly changeable, and you can add or subtract ingredients according to whatever you’ve got lying around. The most important thing is to keep it simple, and you can’t go wrong.
The peas cook with onion, bacon, and butter to form the base of the sauce, which is then loosened up with the starchy water from your pasta-cooking pot. It’s the kind of “basically a sauté” pasta dish we love (see also: cacio e pepe and this Slovenian bacon-cabbage pasta situation) that builds a simple but delicious sauce with nothing more than a skillet, some fat, and a couple basic ingredients—no long simmering required. Add a little freshly ground pepper and you have a meal that sounds a whole lot more impressive than it is, considering you can whip it up in 15 minutes.