No-Recipe Summer Pasta

There are certain dishes you’ve gotta get just right in order for them to turn out well (and edible). If you don’t know how much baking soda to add to your cookies, or how much cumin to put in your chili, you’ll end up with under-cooked, overcooked or just straight-up bland food. Fortunately, for every dish that requires that extra TLC, there’s a dish like this one that requires no measurements at all.

I’ve outlined some suggested amounts for the ingredients in the recipe, below, but it would be pretty hard to mess this one up. The flavors are so fresh, simple and familiar that you’re basically guaranteed success. If you LOVE garlic, add an extra clove, if you’re not crazy about parsley. go HAM on the rosemary. If you can’t get enough tomatoes during the summer months, add an extra pint. Seriously, it’ll still taste good. It’ll also be ready in about 20 minutes, start-to-finish, so it’s an all-around win, in my book. Also, it’s pretty damn good leftover (hot or cold).

Here’s how I put it together (…basically):

No-Recipe Summer Pasta

Course dinner, leftovers, lunch
Cuisine American, Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword Brussels Sprouts, cheese, easy, fresh, pancetta, pasta, peas, quickrecipe, summer, tomatoes, vegetables
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes


  • 1 5 oz package diced pancetta
  • 1 package pasta {I like a shorter noodle for this dish}
  • 1/2 cup extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2-4 cloves garlic {chopped}
  • 1 shallot {chopped}
  • 1 palmful fresh parsley {chopped}
  • fresh thyme leaves {about 10 sprigs worth}
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes {halved through the stem}
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 package shaved Brussels sprouts
  • Manchego cheese {for garnish}
  • lemon {for garnish}
  • salt, pepper and crushed chili flakes


  1. Get a big pot of water boiling, and grab two pans.

  2. Turn the first pan to medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until just browned.

  3. Meanwhile, in the other (still cool) pan, add the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Don't be shy, this will be the 'sauce'! To the oil, add the garlic, shallot, parsley and thyme. Turn the heat to medium.

  4. When the water boils, add your pasta.

  5. Add the tomatoes to the olive oil, which should be fragrant and bubbling slightly around the edges. Stir to coat the tomatoes in the olive oil and herb mixture. Keep an eye on the pan to make sure the oil and garlic don't brown and burn.

  6. When the pasta has three minutes left, add the Brussels sprouts and peas directly into the pasta water and stir.

  7. When the pasta is done, use a spider or strainer and transfer the pasta. Brussels sprouts and peas to a large serving bowl. Add the olive oil and tomato mixture to the pasta. Add the pancetta and its drippings to the bowl, along with a healthy dose of salt and pepper, and stir to combine thoroughly.

  8. Before serving, add shaved cheese, lemon juice and some crushed red chili. Serve hot.

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