I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: sometimes you just need a big bowl of pasta. This recipe uses one of my favorite pastas, tortellini, and crispy little bites of pancetta balanced with fresh spring veggies — english peas and sautéed leeks. Pasta is one of the meals I love to fall back on for busy weeknight dinners because you do so much with it in a short period of time! A few shortcuts I use are cooking the peas in the same water as the pasta (just add them in during the last few minutes of cooking time) and buying the pre-diced pancetta package at Trader Joe’s for perfectly cut cubes that crisp up fast in the pan. I even used some leftover chicken cutlets to top this dish to add in some protein; you could prep the chicken in advance to cut down on time. Get the full recipe below:

Tortellini with Peas and Leeks.
  • 1 lb of Cheese Tortellini
  • 1 Cup of English Peas
  • 4 Tbsp of Butter
  • ½ Cup of Diced Pancetta
  • ¾ Cup of thinly sliced leeks (just the white and light green parts)
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ Cup of White Wine
  • ½ Cup of Reserved Pasta Water
  • ½ Cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Parsley, for garnishing
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook tortellini as directed to al dente; during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, add the peas to the boiling water. Drain pasta and reserve ½ cup of pasta water.
  2. While the tortellini is cooking, melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta to the pan and stir until it begins to crisp.
  3. Add the leeks and garlic to the pan, and sauté until the leeks have softened.
  4. Deglaze the pan with white wine, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the reserved pasta water and simmer until the sauce reduces slightly.
  5. Add the tortellini, peas, and parmesan cheese to the sauce in the pan and toss to coat.
  6. Season with fresh black pepper and drizzle with olive oil and fresh parsley before serving.