I feel like yummy side dishes only come out during the holidays or if there is an outdoor BBQ party.  I admit that cooking a main dish and two sides every night is hard, especially when there is a dog that must lay right in front of the stove while I am cooking.  I swear I am going to break my neck falling over that damn dog.  

In my house we normally have a main dish and a VERY easy side, such as salad or roasted potatoes or sauteed spinach. But, we get tired of those all the time so I have worked to find some new sides that are just as easy and delicious. The first one is Peas with Pancetta.  If you cannot find pancetta then just use bacon.  However, there is a difference between bacon and pancetta.  Both are pork belly and both are cured, but bacon is smoked after it is cured.  So, by using pancetta in this dish you get the salty, pork flavor without the smokey elements of American bacon.  Sometimes bacon can make a dish too smokey and take away from the delicate flavors of whatever you are cooking.  In that case you would use pancetta.  But, let’s be honest, bacon makes everything taste better!
Most grocery stores now have pancetta either sliced or cubed, but if you cannot find pre-sliced or cubed then ask the deli counter if they will cut you a chunk and you can cube it yourself.  
(image credit: Faith Durand)


Peas with Pancetta

Makes 4-6 Servings

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 oz. pancetta, cubed
2 shallots, sliced in rings
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 lb. frozen peas (do not use canned)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon parsley, chopped

In a medium skillet heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add pancetta and cook until crisp.  

Add shallots to crisp pancetta and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.

Add cream, peas, salt and pepper.  Cook until the peas are heated through and the sauce has thickened slightly.  Add lemon juice and stir in Parmesan cheese.

Right before serving stir in parsley.