Craig Claiborne’s Spaghetti with Peas

craig plated **

Since we have been on the topic of peas (last post), I have one more recipe for peas and pasta that I simply must share. I promise, after this one, I’ll stop with the peas.

My mother ripped this recipe out of the New York Times Magazine section in April 1964. I don’t recall ever having this dish prepared for us, and my memory rarely fails me when it comes to food. However, it’s possible she had the intention of making it, and perhaps never did. I love the way this recipe has yellowed and frayed around the edges over the decades.

The list of ingredients baffled me a bit. I couldn’t help but wonder about Italian food in 1964. Yes, home cooking was fabulous, but I’m not so sure about finding Italian recipes in the NY Times at this period in time.   I questioned adding a green pepper, beef broth and salt pork to any spaghetti sauce, but it’s Craig Claiborne’s recipe after all. How bad could it be? I’m sure pancetta was not to be found in 1964, in the United States, so he used salt pork. So 52 years after this was published, I thought I’d give it a try. It was delicious and everyone really enjoyed it. I think you will as well.

Just as an aside…..because I didn’t know this….peas are a vitamin powerhouse!   This green legume is loaded in vitamins A, B-1, B6, C and osteoporosis fighting K.   They are high in fiber, low in fat and contain no cholesterol.   Who knew? And of course, every “vitamin powerhouse” tastes better with pasta!!

RECIPE:  serves 4 to 6

1 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente

1/2 cup finely diced pancetta (bacon will be fine)

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 cups peeled, diced ripe tomatoes or canned Italian plum tomatoes (I used canned)

3 TBSP tomato paste

1 cup beef stock

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 cup fresh or frozen peas ( I like a little more…maybe 1 1/2 cups)

1 green pepper, seeded and cubed

2 TBSP chopped parsley

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

  1.  Sauté the pancetta until lightly browned.  Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly until just tender but not browned.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, and then lower heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the peas, pepper and parsley and cook until peas are barely tender.
  4. Toss with the spaghetti and serve with grated cheese.


craig recipecraig ingredientscraig pancettacraig saute **craig tomatoescraig sauce 1craig sauce 2craig closeup







3 thoughts on “Craig Claiborne’s Spaghetti with Peas

  1. Wonderful blog!!!!! You’re precious……I recall your telling me about this clipping your mother saved…..

    Angela ________________________________


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