Serves 4 - 6
4 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped pancetta
1/2 cup finely minced onion
4 cups thinly sliced cremini mushrooms (about 16 oz.)
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 cup thawed frozen peas
1/2 cup Madeira or Marsala
2/3 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup to 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
16 oz. dried ziti, cooked in well-salted water until just al dente, and drained
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; more for serving
Heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and the pancetta has rendered its fat, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the onion and pancetta to a plate, leaving as much fat in the pan as possible. Add the additional olive oil to the pan and let it get hot. Add the mushrooms and thyme, and sauté the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until their liquid has released and evaporated and they are nicely browned, 8 t0 10 minutes.
Add the peas and return the onions and pancetta to the pan. Add the Madeira or Marsala and the broth to the pan to deglaze it. Cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is reduced by about half.
Add just enough of the cream to round out the flavors and create a clingy sauce. Continue cooking for a minute or so to reduce the cream and to thicken the sauce slightly. Lower the heat to medium and add the cooked and drained pasta and the cheese to the pan. Toss the pasta gently with the sauce to heat the noodles and to meld all the flavors; be careful not to overcook at this stage or the sauce might separate. Serve immediately, with additional grated cheese if you like.