1/2 small leek, cleaned and sliced in thin half-moons
7 ounces (200 g) tubetti/ditalini pasta
3.5 ounces (100 g) frozen peas
2 cups (470 ml) light vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons (45 ml) grated Pecorino Romano, plus more to garnish
2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh mint, plus more to garnish
2 tablespoons (30 ml) butter (cold)
Bring 6-8 cups of salted water to a boil in a pot large enough to cook the pasta.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add the pancetta and sizzle until slightly crispy/starting to render.
Add the sliced leek and sauté over low heat until the leek has wilted.
Add vegetable stock and cook for three to four minutes, as needed, until the liquid has reduced by half.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water until it is mostly cooked but still toothsome (al dente), drain and reserve. (Reserve some of the cooking water for the sauce).
Add the peas and 4 ounces (120 mL) of the reserved pasta cooking water to the pan with the pancetta, leek, and reduced stock. Cook for two minutes. Remove from heat and swirl in the cold butter. Add the mint, the hot, cooked pasta, and grated pecorino. Toss all to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with torn mint leaves and grated pecorino. Serve hot.