Lightened-Up Pasta with Peas and Turkey Bacon


    • 12 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
    • 2 cups frozen baby peas (about 10 ounces)
    • 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
    • 8 slices turkey bacon (14-15g each), diced
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Cooking Instructions

  1. 1Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and oil.

  2. 2To cook peas, either add them to the pasta pot in the final 1 minute of pasta cooking time, or simply place them in the bottom of the colander through which you'll pour out the boiling pasta water to drain the pasta after cooking (the peas will heat through perfectly from the boiling pasta water draining over them).

  3. 3Reserve about ½ cup pasta cooking water prior to draining the pasta.

  4. 4Drain pasta and set pasta and peas aside briefly, keeping them warm.

  5. 5Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring frequently, about 5-10 minutes. Remove bacon from the pan and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.

  6. 6Add olive oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook garlic in the olive oil for about 30-60 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn, just until the garlic is softened and fragrant. Immediately remove from heat and pour the garlic-oil into a large serving bowl.

  7. 7Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the garlic-oil and whisk to thoroughly combine.

  8. 8Add hot pasta and peas to the lemon-garlic-oil mixture and stir thoroughly.

  9. 9Add reserved bacon, parmesan cheese, and basil to the pasta mixture, and stir again.

  10. 10Loosen if needed with reserved pasta cooking water. (Sometimes we don't need this at all, but sometimes a little pasta cooking water helps to loosen the consistency perfectly.)