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8 & $20 Recipe: Poached Eggs, Peas and Pancetta with a Pinot Grigio

A dressed-up take on the breakfast sandwich and an Italian white make a simple weeknight dinner

Jennifer Fiedler
Posted: April 12, 2011

Eight ingredients. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our new feature, "8 & $20." We hope it adds pleasure to your table.

The classic breakfast sandwich—fried eggs and bacon on a roll—makes a great solo dinner in a pinch. But if you have guests, here’s a good way to gussy it up: poached eggs and a scramble of beautiful bright green spring vegetables.

Using pancetta instead of bacon here allows a bit more room in the wine-pairing department. Pancetta—unlike bacon—isn’t smoked, so it adds an extra dimension of richness without all the big smoky aromatics that might steer you to an oaked wine.

We found that a medium-bodied Italian Pinot Grigio worked especially well here. The fruity flavors in the wine matched up with the sweetness in the sautéed onion, while the acidity provided a good counterpoint to the rich egg yolks.

Poached Eggs with Peas, Fava Beans and Crisp Pancetta


Pair with a Pinot Grigio, such as Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio Alto Adige Benefizium Porer 2008 (87 points, $20)


Total time: 20 minutes

Approximate food cost: $15

  • 8 oz. pancetta, thinly sliced into strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shelled peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups shelled fava beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 loaf sourdough bread, cut into thick slices

1. In a medium saucepan, sauté the pancetta strips over medium-high heat until crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered with a paper towel. In the rendered fat from the pancetta, sauté the onion until soft, then add the peas and fava beans until just cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the herbs and crisp pancetta and season to taste.

2. Fill a medium saucepan with 4 inches of water. Heat over high heat until the water boils, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Season the water with a large pinch of salt. One at a time, crack each egg into a small bowl, then slide it into the simmering water. Cook as many eggs as will fit in the pan at a time. For soft-poached eggs, let them cook around 3 minutes. Remove the eggs with slotted spoon and transfer to a plate until you’re ready to serve.

3. Heat a griddle or grill pan to high on the stove. Add a tablespoon of oil, and toast the bread slices until golden brown. Assemble each plate with a heaping ladle of the pea mixture, two poached eggs on top and two slices of bread on the side. Serves 4.

(Note: If you're using fresh fava beans, first take them out of the pod. Blanch them in boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Let them cool, then peel off the outer shell with a paring knife.)

Russell V Meyers
State College, PA —  April 14, 2011 10:39am ET
This looks like a very nice breakfast or light supper. I like the use of the pancetta vice bacon - While I like bacon, I think it would unbalance this dish. Lastly, poached eggs are my favorite way of preparing eggs!
Now I must go out and get some pancetta!

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