I realised while I was slurping back a big plate of cacio e pepe in Rome that I have rarely blogged about any of the classics. By classic, I mean pasta dishes that have stood the test of centuries. When something becomes familiar to me it can sadly become invisible. My family’s comfort food has not made my post list because I forgot how spectacular the first fork full of any of the classic pasta dishes can be.
The summer classics are fresh and quick. Typically they will call for very few ingredients. Fresh peas are spilling from my veggie patch so I will start with one of Ralph and Meggie’s favorites, pasta con piselli e prosciutto – pasta with peas, prosciutto and cream. The sweetness of the fresh peas balances perfectly with the saltiness of the prosciutto. The cream and cheese knock it out of the park!
Pasta con Piselli e Prosciutto
200 g thin fettuccine
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 pound prosciutto, sliced thin and ripped into pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup fresh sweet peas, shelled and boiled til al dente
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy/whipping cream
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Bring large pot of water to a boil
In a large pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat until it foams and subsides. Add the onions and saute for 2 minutes then add ripped prosciutto and cook over medium heat until the meat is browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and season with pepper.
Add cream and reduce to half. Once reduced add cooked peas and cheese, mix well
While cream is reducing, cook fettuccine in the boiling water until al dente. Drain well and toss in the pan with the peas and prosciutto.
The wonderful thing about all of the classic pasta sauces is that once mastered the sky is the limit as far as embellishing. This dish is outrageous with the addition of fresh mint or jumbo shrimp but like any art form understanding the essence is the secret to creation.
This is a rich and delicious dish that celebrates the beautiful fresh peas of summer.
Thanks for reading.