Mini shell pasta with a creamy smoked bacon & pea sauce

This is one of the dishes I cook for my kids, but to be honest, it's so good that me and Jools always eat it too! Mini pasta shells are actually meant to be added to soups, but they're quick and easy to cook, which makes them a good thing to serve with pasta sauces. All in all this should take you no more than five and a half minutes to cook. However, if you decide to go for a bigger type of pasta, remember that it will need more time to cook than these mini shells.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)

Calories
674kcal
Carbs
85.9g
Sugar
5.3g
Fat
20.3g
Saturates
9.3g
Protein
33.5g

Serves 4-6   Approx time: 15   Difficulty: super easy

Ingredients

  • 6 slices higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
  • 1 small bunch fresh mint
  • 100 g Parmesan cheese
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 organic chicken stock cube, optional
  • 400 g dried mini shell pasta
  • olive oil
  • 300 g frozen peas
  • 2 heaped dessertspoons half-fat crème fraîche
  • 1 lemon
 

Method

Finely slice the bacon. Pick the mint leaves and discard the stalks. Finely grate the Parmesan. 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. 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.

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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