“Braised Scallops, Pancetta & Peas” from “Polpo”

Tim: I would like to note for the record that Andrew’s bowl is still 80 percent full.

Andrew (13): It’s good. I’m making progress on it.

TIm: Nicholas is making good progress, though.

Nicholas (9): I thought it was alright. I’m trying to find the pork.

Andrew: What’s in it? Is there pork in there?

Maureen: Yes, there’s pork. If we want to be technical, they are cubes of pancetta. The white round things are scallops.


Andrew: OK. Good to know.

Maureen: I thought this was nice. It seems very fresh, with all of the green vegetables in it.

Tim: Yes, but on the whole it seems a bit bland.

Maureen: You’re right. As Andrew would say, it’s lacking something. I don’t know what, but something.

Tim: I think there’s better ways to serve scallops.

Maureen: Yes. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t brilliant either.

“Braised Scallops, Pancetta & Peas” from “Polpo”

“Farfalle with Ricotta, Pancetta and Peas” from “Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course”

I’m sorry. No dialogue for this one. It obviously got lost amid the hoopla of Christmas.

But this could be the perfect run-up-to-Christmas-weeknight dish. First, it’s got green and red. OK, not red exactly, but pink pancetta, but close enough. The green is provided by the peas. Everyone liked this, but frankly, it’s like so many other pancetta and pea pasta dishes we’ve ever had that it was hardly an adventurous night of eating.


For creaminess, Gordon adds ricotta and creme fraiche. I hate to tell you Gordon, but I was on the creme fraiche in pasta bandwagon years ago, in a quick kids weeknight dinner which I called “Cheat’s Alfredo.”

To make my Cheat’s Alfredo, all you do is cook pasta, add the peas in when there’s about three minutes left of cooking, drain the pasta, add creme fraiche and copious amounts of dried parmesan cheese. Done. Bob’s your uncle.

This one is slightly different in that you add pancetta. Frankly, I think whenever you add a bacon product to a dish you are guaranteed a win. You also add ricotta, which is a slight variation on my Cheat’s Alfredo, but it works.

Finally, you will notice from the photographs that the pasta is decidedly not farfalle. Here’s what happened: I bought the farfalle but also some fusilli at the store. While I was making dinner amid about a million other Christmas jobs, I just opened one packet of pasta which happened to be the fusilli. As a result, we’re having Fusilli with Ricotta, Pancetta and Peas. Next time I will use the farfalle, but I don’t think it makes a bit of difference.

Will I make it again? Maybe. I still think Nigella’s orzo with peas and pancetta is better, but this one is good too, especially if I don’t have any orzo in the cupboard. We now all know how difficult it can be to find orzo in the shops.


“Farfalle with Ricotta, Pancetta and Peas” from “Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course”