Penne with Bacon, Peas, and Lemon

Read next

Most kids (and adults!) just love bacon, which is why this recipe is so popular, no matter your age. Try adding mint or parsley at the end and sautéing vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, sliced brussels sprouts, or Swiss chard in the pan with the bacon fat before adding the peas. Voila! You’ve got yourself one amazing meal out of only six simple ingredients!


3/4 pound penne pasta

1/2 pound bacon, about 4 thick slices, diced

1 shallot or 1/2 onion, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice and zest, grated, from 1 lemon

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Salt and pepper

1. Heat a large pot of water until boiling.  Add 1 ½ tablespoons salt and when the water boils again add the pasta and cook until just tender.

2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large straight sided skillet, and when crisp, spoon off all but approximately 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan. Add the shallots or onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

3. When the pasta is tender, before draining, scoop out a cupful of liquid and set aside.  Drain the pasta.

4. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the pan with the bacon, scraping and mixing in the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.

5. Immediately add the drained pasta and the peas to the pan, stirring to combine.

6. Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of the pasta liquid if dry, and serve.

Recipe Courtesy of Jennifer Virant, Chef Paul Virant’s wife

Serves 4

A lifelong foodie and a first-time mother, Fanae Aaron had lots of questions about how to teach her son to enjoy a variety of fresh, whole foods. So she sought out a diverse group of twenty award-winning chefs who are also parents.  Her book What Chefs Feed Their Kids, Recipes and Techniques for Cultivating a Love of Good Food, published by Lyons Press, comes out November 8th.  She learned a lot in the process and now at five years old, while most kids are squarely in the world of pizza, burger and fries, Cody is truly a champion eater!.  For more on the book and her blog go to