Cucina Povera Napoletana – considered peasant food or the “cuisine of the poor,” Cucina Povera Napoletana can more accurately be described as the art of using simple ingredients and simple methods to create a truly spectacular dish!

A traditional recipe out of the pages of Cucina Povera Napoletana, Pasta e Piselli or Pasta and Peas is one of several recipes that pairs pasta with legumes and flavors the dish with a small bit of meat to create a rich and satisfying meal for virtually nothing. Add eggs to this classic recipe and voilà, you have Pasta e Piselli con Uova.

Made year round with canned or jarred peas, it is also a traditional spring dish, the time of year when glorious green pods of peas are in season.

Flavored with pancetta, cured belly of pork, pancetta takes its name from the Italian word for belly – pancia. In this case pancetta coppata, round slices of unsmoked pancetta made from both the neck and belly of pork by rolling the “pancetta” around the “coppa.”

Pancetta Coppata for Neapolitan Pasta e Piselli
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Pancetta, the fatty looking part is wrapped around the “coppa,” the darker meat


Mix in a short pasta like pasta mista – mismatched broken bits of pasta that were in true Neapolitan fashion, not wasted but sold on the cheap. So popular did it become that today pasta mista is commercially produced. Short tube pastas like tubettini and ditali are also good or break spaghetti up into thirds or quarters for spaghetti spezzati, the choice of many purists. 

Finish with eggs beaten with Parmigiano cheese and it becomes almost like a Carbonara, almost.

Simple ingredients prepared simply, but simply delicious!


1 lb Pasta Mista or Short Tube Pasta
150 grams Pancetta Coppata
400 grams canned or fresh peas
1 Onion
2 Eggs
100 grams grated Parmigiano
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking Method

Chop the onions and pancetta.
In a large pot, saute the onions and pancetta in a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
Add undrained peas and cook for about 15 mins. For fresh peas, add the shucked peas to the onion and pancetta mixture and cover until cooked, stirring occasionally. Add water as necessary to cook the peas.
Stir in about 1 cup of water and cook on medium-low heat for another 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook and drain the pasta. The pasta should be al dente or cooked until it is just a bit undercooked for your taste as it will cook more when you add it to the peas and pancetta.
Stir the pasta into the pea and pancetta mixture.
Beat the eggs and Parmigiano cheese together.
Stir the egg and cheese mixture into the pasta and peas and mix through over low heat.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Buon Appettito!