Heston Blumenthal puts a trademark twist on the classic carbonara using a humble everyday veg.

  heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

One thing that always interests us here at insearchofheston.com is the difference in Heston’s recipes between the old and the new, and how some of the Fat Duck chef’s recipes have evolved over the years.

One of our favourite go-tos for easy Heston gastronomy is his Carbonara recipe, a relatively simple dish with a “sauce” made from egg yolks and parmesan cheese. That Carbonara dish dates back to 2002, and Heston’s first home recipe book, Family Food. Spin on a few years (2010, to be precise) and we’ve got the almost identical Heston recipe for Pea and Pancetta Spaghetti. It’s essentially the same dish, but leaving out the parsley, swapping green chilli for red and adding a whole load of frozen peas.

It’s still a very cheap and easy dish to make (and with the addition of extra veg a bit healthier, too), but the inclusion of those peas seems to contradict a very sage bit of advice from the original 2002 Family Food recipe, specifically this:

heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

We’ve made Heston’s Pea and Pancetta Spaghetti recipe and suffered exactly the problem Heston anticipated in Family Food: sad, lonely peas left on the plate. Our solution? Replace that awkward spaghetti with retro, school-days chonchiglie pasta shells, and use smaller, sweeter petit pois. The pasta should prove much more effective at holding onto the peas, and make this dish as easy to eat as it is to make.

SUMMARY

Here’s the Waitrose ad with Heston showing you how to make his Pea and Pancetta Spaghetti recipe:

 

Recipes: Heston’s Pea and Pancetta Spaghetti recipe
Special Equipment: None
Special Ingredients: None
Time: 20 – 30 minutes
Serves: 2
Difficulty: Easy

heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

REPORT

Step 1: Pasta

heston-blumenthal-pea-and-pancetta-pasta-recipe-heston-at-home-quick-and-easy-recipes-03

As ever Heston recommends a ratio of 1 litre of water and 10g of salt for every 100g of pasta. You can weigh everything on the scales if you want to be super-accurate.

heston-blumenthal-pea-and-pancetta-pasta-recipe-heston-at-home-quick-and-easy-recipes-04

If you’re quick and organised you can take care of everything else while the pasta is on the boil.

Step 2: Onions, Chilli, Garlic

heston-blumenthal-pea-and-pancetta-pasta-recipe-heston-at-home-quick-and-easy-recipes-05

Quick, organised and have nifty knife-skills. We struggle with all 3 of those, so the stuff you see here was prepared before the pasta went on.

heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

On a medium heat with a good slug of olive oil these don’t need much attention at all. Which means you can turn your energies to…

Step 3: The Sauce

heston-blumenthal-pea-and-pancetta-pasta-recipe-heston-at-home-quick-and-easy-recipes-06

You need 3 yolks for a two-person serving. Or 4 if you bought those cheap but miserably tiny “mixed sized” eggs like we did. Oh, and 50g of parmesan which takes much longer to grate than you might expect.

heston-blumenthal-pea-and-pancetta-pasta-recipe-heston-at-home-quick-and-easy-recipes-07

Whisked together this forms more of a rough paste than an actual sauce. That changes to a significantly smoother mixture once you add a ladle full of the pasta water.

heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

Our advice is to be sure to let that water cool before adding it, or you’ll scramble the egg yolks.

Step 4: Pancetta and Peas

heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

Half way through cooking add the pancetta (we’re using streaky bacon, which is a perfectly acceptable substitute).

heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

About a minute before the pasta is ready add your frozen peas. Yes, while still frozen.

heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

The heat of the pan will defrost them. You can leave the mixture off the heat while you attend to your pasta.

Step 5: Mix It All Up

heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

Add the sauce to the piping hot pasta. The fearful will be pleased ot hear that the heat of the pasta will cook the yolks just enough. But, if you’re still a bit apprehensive, by all means return the pan to a very low hob and stir constantly.

heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

Stir through the onion, pea and pancetta mixture then season with black pepper (with all that cheese and bacon you shouldn’t need any salt).

heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

Plate up and grate over even more parmesan. Congratulations, you’ve just made Heston’s Pea and Pancetta Pasta recipe.

VERDICT

Much like the spaghetti carbonara recipe that form its foundations, Heston’s Pea and Pancetta Pasta recipe is a solidly delicious meal.

heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

Those peas and red chillies add a sweet and earthy quality that make this dish a pleasingly earthy alternative. The sauce was slightly too thin for us, but otherwise this could not be improved.

heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

Granted, they won’t win any awards for beauty, but the chonchiglie pasta shells are perfect for catching and holding onto the peas. Check it out:

heston pea pasta recipe carbonara waitrose heston blumenthal recipes family food at home

If you’re looking for a fun, easy, delicious recipe that’s a little bit different and isn’t going to break the bank we’d highly recommend you try Heston’s Pea and Pancetta Pasta recipe.

NEXT TIME

Pretty much flawless, but if we made this again we’d reduce the amount of water for the pasta sauce, which we found to a bit too thin. Otherwise, we don’t think this recipe can be beaten.

Further Reading

I Want To Cook Like Heston – Kita makes the textbook version of Heston’s Pea and Pancetta Spaghetti recipe

Peach Jam – Another great version of Heston’s Pea and Pancetta Spaghetti recipe

Good, Glorious Food – A fantastic version of the Heston Blumenthal Pea and Pancetta Spaghetti recipe

BigSpud – The ever-excellent Gary adapts another Heston Pea and Pasta recipe to get the most out of Comte Cheese, and unlike us he’s brave enough to make his own pasta from scratch!