This creamy pappardelle pasta is made lighter with mascarpone and starchy pasta water instead of cream! It’s filled with peas, crispy pancetta, spinach, crispy shallots, and sage. SO much incredible flavor!
Pasta will always be my end-all, be-all favorite food.
As a kid, I literally ate pasta every single day, whether it was for a meal or a snack. My family is obsessed with this pasta sauce, and we would order it by the case. This is actually the first recipe I ever shared on my blog, back in 2014, and I love it so much, I wanted to update the recipe and the photos for you guys!
With Valentine’s Day on Wednesday, this is a perfect date night meal to make at home! I’ve always been a fan of making a nice meal at home and relaxing. SO much better than dealing with the crowds on V-day.
Especially when this pasta is involved!
I mean, how can you go wrong with all of these ingredients? Peas (SO underrated!), shallots, garlic, spinach, crispy pancetta, creamy mascarpone cheese, parm, and sage! One of my all time favorite (if not my favorite) herb!
I am a huge sucker for a good marinara, but this is a fabulous red sauce-less pasta recipe. The cream sauce is super light and delicious and uses starchy pasta water and marscapone cheese instead of cream!
Side note: there’s actually a touch of half and half in the recipe, but it can be omitted!
I cannot say enough good things about this pasta. It’s UNREAL. The crispy shallots, light cream sauce from the mascarpone, fresh peas, spinach, and garlicky shallot-y flavors are hard to beat. And don’t even get me started on the crispy pancetta!
If you’ve never had it, it’s basically Italian bacon. SO freaking good.
You’d never ever know there were only a few tablespoons of cream/half and half in this pasta. Using mascarpone and starchy pasta water is my all time favorite fake-out for making lighter cream sauces for pasta. If you can’t tell, I’m kind of obsessed with it.
You haveeee to try it! And I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat pasta ribbons?
Share this with a loved one this week..it’s the best.
Creamy Pappardelle with Pancetta, Peas, Spinach, and Shallot Crisps
This creamy pappardelle pasta is made lighter with mascarpone and starchy pasta water instead of cream! It's filled with peas, crispy pancetta, spinach, crispy shallots, and sage. SO much incredible flavor!
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pancetta, diced (ask the deli to slice it 1/4 inch thick)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- pinch of red pepper flake
- pinch of dried basil
- 3 tablespoons fresh sage, thinly sliced
- 5 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 3/4 cup reserved starchy pasta water + another 1/4 c. if needed
- 3 tablespoons half and half or cream if desired
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more to serve and garnish
- pinch of nutmeg
- 9 ounces pappardelle pasta
- salt and pepper
Begin by making the shallot crisps. Heat the canola oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour to a small bowl and add a few pinches of salt and pepper. Dredge 1/3 of the shallot rings in flour (the rest of the shallots are for the pasta). Once oil is hot, fry the shallots in batches for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Let drain on paper towels, and set aside. Season with salt while they are hot.
Next, heat a large pot of water to boil for pasta. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the pancetta and sauté for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove pancetta from skillet and place in a small bowl. Set aside.
To the same pan, add the remaining 2 thinly sliced shallots and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until slightly golden. Add the red pepper flakes, dried basil, and spinach leaves. Reduce heat to medium/low and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, until spinach is wilted. Next add the peas and stir to heat through. (side note: The water should be boiling for the pasta at this point.) While veggies are cooking, don't forget to reserve your starchy pasta water!*
Add starchy water to the veggies, as well as half and half, mascarpone, and parmesan. Stir to combine and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add a pinch of nutmeg and half of the sage, the crispy pancetta, as well as more salt and pepper to taste.
Drain the pasta and toss lightly with olive oil. Place in a large serving bowl, and pour sauce over pasta, using tongs to combine, as well and any additional parmesan and pasta water if too dry. I added an additional 1/4 c. of water at this point. Garnish with remaining sage, more parmesan, and shallot crisps. Serve!
*Make sure the pasta has been boiling for at least 6-8 minutes, to ensure you have enough starch in the water. But the best case is to reserve it right before you drain it!
This post was originally published on 6/22/16, but was updated with new photos and text on 2/11/18!
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