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mini shell pasta with a creamy smoked bacon and pea sauce


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  • 10 slices smoked streaky bacon or pancetta, preferably free-range or organic
  • • a small bunch of fresh mint
  • • 150g Parmesan cheese
  • • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • optional: 1 chicken stock cube, preferably organic
  • • 400g dried mini shell pasta
  • • olive oil
  • • a knob of butter
  • • 300g frozen peas
  • • 2 heaped dessertspoons crème fraîche
  • • 1 lemon


Servings 4


Step 1

To prepare your pasta
• Finely slice the bacon
• Pick the mint leaves and discard the stalks
• Finely grate the Parmesan

To cook your pasta
• Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and drop in the stock cube (if using)
• Stir until it’s dissolved, then add the mini shells and cook according to the packet instructions
• Get a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a good lug of olive oil and the butter
• Add the bacon to the pan, sprinkle a little pepper over and fry until golden and crisp
• Meanwhile, finely chop your mint leaves
• As soon as the bacon is golden, add your frozen peas and give the pan a good shake
• After a minute or so, add the crème fraîche and chopped mint to the bacon and peas
• Drain the pasta in a colander over a large bowl, reserving some of the cooking water
• Add the pasta to the frying pan
• Halve your lemon and squeeze the juice over the pasta
• When it’s all bubbling away nicely, remove from the heat
• The sauce should be creamy and delicious but if it’s too thick for you, add a splash of the reserved cooking water to thin it out a bit
• Add the grated Parmesan and give the pan a shake to mix it in

To serve your pasta
• Divide your pasta between plates or bowls, or put it on the table in a large serving dish and let everyone help themselves
• Lovely with a simply dressed green salad

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