Pasta and Peas
One of my favorite “what should we have for dinner tonight?” 15 mintue meals is Pasta e Piselli or Pasta and Peas. I learned to make this while visiting Dino, who worked at the University of Florence and lived in an old farmhouse in the hills overlooking that magical city. I don’t know if it was the smell of the fireplace that heated those thick, cold, stone walls or Dino’s easy manner while he cooked and chatted with us but this simple meal immediately made our family’s comfort food list.
I keep chopped smoked pancetta in the freezer for this and several other pasta dishes I learned to make while living in Italy. Abraham brand diced prosciutto is the closest thing I’ve found in the U.S. to what is sold in Italy. It is a product of Germany and prepared with juniper berries and is nice and lean. Sunset Foods in Northbrook carries this in the meat department.
This is how easy it is to make 2 generous servings:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ small white or yellow onion, finely chopped
1 oz. smoked pancetta, diced
1 cup petite green peas, thawed
4 oz. dried ditalini pasta (takes about 10 minutes to cook to al dente)
While the pasta is cooking, in plenty of salted water, sauté onion and pancetta in olive oil in small saucepan. Add peas, pepper and a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Cook for several minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add peas and pancetta and stir to mix. Serve in bowls with soup spoons. Ummmm.