We got the last of this season’s fresh English peas from Picone’s, our local family-owned green grocer. I’d used most of them in a giant batch of Summer Squash Succotash that the family had consumed with gusto, but had enough left to eke out two portions of this simple but flavourful pasta. It’s a weekday treasure.
The recipe is a somewhat simplified version of one from Cook’s Illustrated, an endless font of knowledge on the best processes and methods pertaining to preparing delicious food. Their exhaustive research and compelling narrative is encouraging and informative. I’m an information junky, so love delving into the whys and wherefores behind recipes that work and those that don’t. Sometimes, though, you just want to get the meal on the table without worrying about finessing ingredients that may add something at the margin, but aren’t going to affect the overall quality.
Such was the case with this recipe. I skipped the gruyere cheese from the original recipe (it isn’t something I keep for anything other than a specific recipe, like scalloped potatoes, and who buys 2 oz of gruyere?). I also substituted about 2 tbsp of finely chopped yellow onion for the required shallot, as I had run out of those, too. I will also confess to forgetting to reserve a cup of the pasta water (I always forget that, grrrr), so ours was a bit dry, That was unfortunate and I’ll do better next time.
- 3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp finely chopped yellow onion or 1 small shallot, minced
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 c heavy cream
- 8 oz tagliatelle
- 3/4 freshly shelled English peas
- 1/4 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Bring a large pot well-salted water to a boil.
- Slice 2 1/2 oz of prosciutto crosswise into 1/4" slices; set aside. Mince the remaining 1/2 oz prosciutto. Melt butter in an 8" skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallot, 1/8 tsp of salt and cook until softened (about 2 minutes). Stir in the cream and minced prosciutto. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cream is reduced (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. About 1 minute before it is cooked, add the peas. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Set aside.
- Drain the pasta thoroughly and return to the pot. Add 1/2 c of the reserved cooking water, the cream mixture, prosciutto strips, peas and parmesan cheese. Gently toss until pasta is well coated. Season with pepper to taste and adjust the consistency as necessary with additional cooking water.
- Serve immediately.
- You can substitute frozen petite peas for fresh (which the original recipe called for). In that case, toss the petite peas with the pasta, sauce and prosciutto at the last minute, omitting to cook them in the pasta water for the last few minutes.