- English shelling peas
- chicken broth
- crushed red pepper
As I stated yesterday, we are currently on week #7 of my CSA share from Vollmer Farms. I teased you with a lot of ideas for this week’s goodies but the promise of a bacon-like substance pulled me in for the win. Seriously, who can resist the beauty that is prosciutto. This recipe also calls for one of my favorite spices, Allspice. It smells so delicious…I don’t have many recipes that call for it but I tend to make this peas & prosciutto recipe often so I go through a large jar rather quickly. This week’s CSA share recipes utilizes my bag of English shelling peas.
Fresh peas really are delicious, in fact – Baby B, a known pea hater, actually enjoys these peas. If you don’t have fresh peas available, frozen or even canned work just fine…no need to thaw the frozen ones but if you use the canned variety, you will need to drain them. When Hubs and I started dating, I watched his mother make this recipe several times. I decided it was one I needed to commit to memory to be used to coax my kids into eating peas. I mean seriously, you can serve prosciutto with almost anything and it’s going to taste delicious, no?!!?
This is really a rather simple dish to prepare. Once you have everything prepped and your pasta rolling, the whole dish takes less than 15 minutes to prepare.
First off, generously salt a big pot of water, bring it to a boil and dump in your pasta…cook it according to the package’s directions. I like to use Orecchiette because they look like little caps and the peas get caught inside. Shells work nicely or you could go for frozen cavatellies – they are delicious but we can’t use them because they are fresh/frozen and contain eggs that would be unsafe for Baby B. My Mother-in-law always used cavatellies…if you can find them, use them – you won’t be sorry. While the pasta cooks, sauté the shallot and garlic in a little olive oil with a dash of salt & pepper. Then add the prosciutto. Since you are going to brown it a bit, feel free to use the pre-packaged Boar’s Head variety…it’ll save you time waiting on the deli line…goodness knows the deli line at my local grocery store often leaves me with an elevated blood pressure – and that’s not because of the high salt content! I have dead grandparents that move faster than those people! But I digress…add the prosciutto to the shallot and garlic, sauté until browned a bit then add your peas. Give it a good stir and add the chicken broth – you could also use a nice white wine here but since I always have chicken broth open, it’s my go to for this dish. Use the back of your wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of your pan (that’s called the fond). Next, we season with allspice and oregano…if you like a little spice, now is the time to add a dash of crushed red pepper. Let this simmer and cook down while the pasta finishes up. If you don’t have a spider strainer to transfer the pasta straight from the pot to the sauté pan, remove about a cup of the salty cooking water to add to the dish at the very end. If you have a spider strainer that allows you to take the cooked pasta straight from the boiling water and into the sauté pan, enough cooking liquid will hang on to the pasta to act as a starchy binder making the dish feel creamy without adding cream. Once you combine the pasta with the peas and prosciutto mixture, give it a good stir and keep an eye on it until the liquid level cooks out a bit…not too dry, but not soupy. Remove it from the heat and gently stir in some butter or if you want to be all technical, the phrase is mount with butter.
Serve this with freshly grated parmesan or ricotta salata cheese.
There you have it…a staple in our home…using fresh English shelling peas from my CSA share. It’s really delicious and is kid approved. Give it a try this weekend…hope you enjoy it!