Orecchiette with Ricotta, Bacon and Peas

Source: NY Times Online
adapted by http://theresalwaysthyme.blogspot.com

1 cup shelled fresh or frozen peas
3 ounces pancetta or bacon (4 strips) cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 medium onion, minced
1 cup ricotta cheese (about 1/2 pound)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound orecchiette, farfalle or other pasta shape (save some of the cooking water to make the ricotta a little saucy.)

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot for the pasta. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a small pot for the peas. Add the peas and cook until tender, about 4 minutes for fresh, about 1 minute for frozen. Drain, and set the peas aside.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly browned but not yet crisp, about 6 minutes. Use a fork to transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings.

Add the onion to the skillet, and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas, and cook for 30 seconds to coat them with some of the bacon drippings.

Scrape the onion and peas into a bowl large enough to hold the cooked pasta. Stir in the cheeses and bacon. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the desired salt to the boiling water; then, add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Toss the pasta with the cheese sauce, adding as much cooking water as needed to moisten the pasta. Serve the pasta in individual bowls immediately. 4 servings.
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