Creamy Peas and Pancetta look simple, but I assure you, there’s ample flavor intertwined between those crisp, sweet peas and crispy pancetta. The peas are coated in a sweet and salty sherry-infused cream sauce and lots of caramelized shallots. They’re the perfect way to make an easy side dish just a little bit more elevated than your average batch of buttered peas.
Add chopped pancetta to a large saute pan or skillet. Render the fat from the panetta over a medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon. Cook until the pancetta is brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta from the pan. Drain on paper towels. Reserve rendered fat.
Add the sliced shallot to the rendered fat. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Toss the shallots in the fat. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Continue to cook the shallots until they're soft and caramelized, about 7-8 minutes.
Turn the heat up to medium and add sherry to the shallots. Simmer until reduce by half, about 1-2 minutes. Add half and half, remaining salt, sugar and peas. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the half and half is slightly thickened, and peas are hot, about 4-5 minutes Add pancetta back to the peas, stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.