Well, here's another dish to celebrate National Pasta Month.......Pasta and Peas! While trying to decide which pasta recipe to share this time, I pretty quickly thought of this one. It's a dish I remember having many times as a little girl while at my grandparents' house. I loved being with them and considered it a treat when I could spend the night. Now, breakfast at gramma's ..... not my favorite. It usually included a soft-boiled egg somewhere and, as a little girl, I just couldn't deal with that runny yolk. On the other hand, the pineapple juice was delicious and seemed rather special served in her sweet little juice glasses with the painted oranges around the outside. After a morning of playing, having a little visit with their beagle, Queenie, and "helping" grandpa in the garden, gramma would call us in for lunch. Then the three of us would sit down at their tiny kitchen table to a nice bowl of pasta and peas. It was so good!
Maybe part of the reason I remember it so fondly is because of the time spent sitting on the porch with gramma, shelling fresh peas from her garden. When you've worked and contributed to something it always seems better, right?
Although this isn't her original recipe, it gives me the same comforting feeling I remember from back then. You know, it's unfortunate that as very young children we don't have the presence of mind to gather up and write down all the delicious recipes made for us by our loving grammas. I mean, where were our minds at age five? What were we thinking?? Didn't we know that someday, as adults, we would long for the tastes, the smells, and the experiences associated with those recipes; that we would want to recreate them in our own kitchens for our own families?
No, as little children, and even as teenagers and young adults, the importance of those family times, the foods, the traditions, etc. sometimes escape us. As someone who is a lifetime away from five now, I'm here to say I remember those things, and they've become very important to me over the years. Even though my gramma is no longer with us, I do remember, and I'm sharing this in honor of you, gramma.
Pasta and Peas
( adapted from recipe in Rao's Cookbook by Frank Pellegrino )
1 pound Ditalini pasta
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced prosciutto
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 - 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups unsalted chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2-3 tblsp. chopped Italian parsley and a few whole sprigs for garnish
Cook the Ditalini in boiling, salted water until al dente, adding the peas for the last minute or two. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, prosciutto, and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent, approx. 3 minutes. Add the pasta, reserved pasta water, and chicken stock and heat everything through. Season with salt and pepper. Add the parsley and stir to combine. Pour into a serving bowl and garnish with the cheese and a few whole sprigs of parsley. Pass more cheese at the table. ( I LOVE CHEESE !! )
An invitation to you:
I would love to hear about some of the dishes you remember your gramma making for you, whether it's something she made in the past or is still making for you now. I'm anxious to hear all of your comments!