Ground Beef Italian Style with Pancetta, Kale, Sweet Peas

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Ground Beef Italian Style with Kale, Pancetta, Peas by Angela Roberts

This is an upgraded version of a dish my family eats all the time. I first discovered the amazing combination of two simple ingredients, when put together are magical, at an Italian Club potluck.

At first I was put off.Who brings a ground beef dish to a potluck, if you’re Italian.

No one. Unless it’s meatballs. But, there sat this little dish of ground beef, onion and peas, and after my first bite, I nearly ate it all. I think went back three times, while Pasta and bread were flying into the mouths of  the Italian Americans.Ground Beef Italian Style with Pancetta, Kale, Peas, by Angela Roberts

I was criticized recently of stereotyping Americans interpreting Italian food, but non-Italians should take heart, as we Italians are most critical of each other.

Now perhaps that’s a stereotype, but it is what it is. We all know your Italian family makes the best sauce. And your Aunt Carmella makes the best eggplant and my Aunt Rita makes the best stuffed shells.  I even take pride in saying no one beats Retro Rose’s Southern Fried Chicken anywhere and I’ll smack down anyone’s Southern biscuits. But, the most trouble is in the Italian food. My grandmother had issues with certain regions of Italy. Their sauce was inferior to her mothers, etc., and there were would be these funny stories about entire villages in Italy that only thought they could cook!

I think we are born this way. Try to imagine the thoughts going round the room in that Italian Club pot luck. You better believe they were summing up each dish, all the while enjoying the food with gusto. I was drawn to the most humble dish in the room, because it was different and just delicious.

I’ve written about that dish here, which is still one of the all time most popular dishes. It’s simple. Olive oil. Onions. Ground Beef. Red Chile Pepper.  A few herbs.

Today, I made exciting changes. I added kale, and I added milk to the ground beef. Grass milk with grass fed beef. It’s a healthy dish, and it’s in keeping with my commitment to the primal blueprint, an offshoot of the paleo diet.

Whether you eat for health or eat to eat, you can’t go wrong with Italian style ground beef with pancetta, kale, and peas. It’s affordable, delicious and takes about twenty minutes in total. Now that’s reason enough to pin this one.

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Ground Beef Italian Style with Pancetta, Kale, Sweet Peas

A most delicious, twenty minutes dish, of ground beef, pancetta, kale and sweet peas. Rustic, Affordable.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 3
Author: Angela Roberts


  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced pancetta
  • 1 pound grass fed ground beef
  • 1/4 cup organic milk
  • 1 cup peas
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale
  • 1 to mato or a handful of small cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cracked chili pepper


  • Prepare kale: Wash, rinse, cut out the ribs and chop into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in pan. Add in onions and pancetta and cook until softened.
  • Add in ground beef over top of onions. Pour milk over ground beef. Salt ground beef.
  • Stir together. Milk will make it slightly cream and adds nice texture
  • Continue to stir frequently until ground beef is cooked.
  • Add frozen peas and stir until peas or cooked, which only takes a few minutes.
  • Add fresh thyme and chopped kale until kale is softened.
  • Turn off heat. add in some fresh tomato or tomato grapes. Serve immediately.

Please follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe,  please tag me #spinachtiger.

If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo


Similar Posts


  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was delicious. My husband loved it, too. I didn’t use any pancetta because I didn’t think it needed anymore fatty protein. I topped each bowl with a bit of freshly grated Boars’ Head Chipotle Gouda.

    1. Erin
      I’m so happy you tried it. I did a new ground beef stir fry tonight and I was thinking I need to show more on the blog. Simple meals are the best. The gouda sounds delish.

  2. I totally love dishes like that… And I also love the way the Italians are so passionate about their recipes I their region. When we visited Italy a few years back we already noticed big differences between one region and the next and I can’t wait to sample some more when we go back next year!

  3. 5 stars
    Angela, this dish is right up my alley! I love ground beef any style, although not a fan of kale, I will try it here. Can’t wait to taste it. And you are absolutely correct, my Neapolitan mother would think that her style of cooking was better than Sicilian (her MIL!). I am a fan of both styles!! xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating