Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas in a White Creamy Sauce (in Bianco)

Taking advantage the season, here is another pasta recipe showcasing fresh Spring Peas.  If you are lucky enough to find fresh peas, this is an easy, delicious way to use them.  The combination of peas and prosciutto, well, it is a marriage made in food heaven!!

If you are not lucky and cannot find fresh peas, frozen high quality spring peas will work too.  Let’s get cooking!

Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas in Bianco

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Creamy pea sauce with a large size pasta to capture all the peas and prosciutto

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Ingredients

1 lb artisan pasta large shape, i.e. rigatoni, large penne, large shell

2 cups of fresh shucked peas (frozen work too)

2 scallions finely chopped

1/2 lb prosciutto (imported either Parma or San Danieli) sliced and chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 tbls of unsalted butter

2 tbls of extra virgin olive oil

2 tbls finely chopped flat leaf parsley

3/4 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese grated

Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-In a large sauce pot, large enough to finish off the cooked pasta, add olive oil, chopped scallions, on medium low heat, saute until the scallions become transparent

-Cut the prosciutto in fine strips, cut again into little squares, add to the olive oil and scallions,  saute for a few minutes, you do not want the prosciutto to brown.

-Add the Peas,  parsley and 1 cup of water,  cook on medium low heat (note-you are also cooking the fresh peas at this point). Salt carefully, (prosciutto is already salty ) add fresh ground pepper.  Cook until peas are tender the time will differ depending on your peas.  If the liquid evaporates and the peas are not yet tender just add more water

-Bring water to boil in a pasta pot

-When peas are tender, add cream and butter,  remove from  heat until the pasta is ready

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-Add pasta to the salted boiling  water (Pasta 101) Cook 1 minute less that package indicates.

-On a lively flame, with a large slotted spoon, scoop the pasta out of the water, drain over the pasta water, add to the sauce mixture stir, add parmesan cheese continue stiring  Pasta should have a creamy texture

Serve immediately

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Buon Appetito!!

Mickey

 

 

Spring Fling, Russian Salad with Fresh Asparagus

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This dish takes asparagus and eggs to the next level.   Asparagus paired with a fresh vegetable, egg filled Russian Salad…. so tasty.  Mainly served as an appetizer, Russian salad, is a favorite here in Venice.  I thought it might be interesting served with seasonal asparagus.  Russian Salad also called Olivier Salad,  is a traditional Russian celebratory dish.  This salad  has become quite popular in Europe, there are many variations and each country has adopted their own version.  I  quite like the way the Venetians make their Insalata Russa.

Russian Salad with Fresh Spring Asparagus

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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This salad can be served year round,  alone or as a side to boiled shrimp or lobster.

Ingredients

10 carrots peeled and diced in 1/4″cubes (should yield approximately 3 cups)

2 large non starchy potatoes peeled and diced in 1/4″ cubes (should yield 3 cups)

2 cups of fresh peas shelled (use frozen if fresh are unavailable)

8 hard boiled eggs

1 cup of dill gherkins diced in 1/4″ cubes

1 1/2 to 2 cups of Mayonnaise  (high quality)

1 tsp dijon mustard

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

sea salt

salt and pepper to taste

2 large bunches of asparagus

Directions

-Peel and dice potatoes into 1/4″ size cubes,  slice the potatoes on the long side lay the potatoes flat on a cutting board and cut into cubesIMG_1031.JPG

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-Peel and cut the carrots along the length, lay the cut side down on a cutting board and cut again, then cut into 1/4′ cubesIMG_1033.JPG

-All items need to boil separately each has different cooking times

-In cold water add potatoes and course grain sea salt, bring to boil, after water comes to a boil time 10 minutes (note the potatoes need to retain their shape and NOT fall apart, so watch carefully, Please do not overcook them). Drain and let cool completely.

-In cold water add the carrots and sea salt, bring to boil and time 8 minutes noting the same not to overcook the carrots.  Drain and let cool completely.

-In cold water add the peas and sea salt you will need to test the peas but if fresh 10 minutes,  if frozen much shorter, also be careful not to overcook. Drain and let cool completely

-In a pot large enough for the eggs, bring water to a boil, add the eggs carefully into the water boil for 10 minutes.  Let cool and peel

-Dice egg whites into 1/4″ cubes separately chop the yokes

-Dice the dill gherkins in 1/4″ cubes

-It is important that all items cool and dry before mixing together

-In a bowl add mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper, mix well

-In a large mixing bowl add all of the cooked ingredients along with the dill gherkins, egg whites and yolks, mix in the mayonnaise, stir carefully , refrigerate until ready to use.  Can be made a day in advance.

-Cut the tough bottom end of the asparagus, with a vegetable peeler, peel the bottom rough outer layer, place the asparagus in cold water bring to boil.  Test for preferred doneness with a fork.  Carefully lift the asparagus out of the water let drain.

-With a pastry form in the center of a plate, fill with  Russian Salad, lay the asparagus alongside, lift the form and Voila!!  A Beautiful Spring Plate!!!

Buon Appetito !!

 

 

 

Pasta with Creamed Fresh Spring Peas

Spring is here and what better way to welcome the season than with Farm Fresh Spring Peas.  If you are able to find peas at the Farmers Market buy them, shell them and put them in the freezer, no need to precook the peas.  I am still using mine from last year!  (No need to worry if you cannot find fresh, frozen peas will work too).  Peas are  easily used in so many dishes, let’s start with this,  Pasta made with a creamed fresh pea sauce.  This dish will be a great addition to your Easter menu.

Pasta with Creamed Fresh Spring Peas

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Shell pasta captures the peas inside their shape, so every bite has peas with some creamy sauce

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This dish works  well as an Easter first course

Ingredients

4-5 cups of Fresh shelled Peas (frozen works too)

1 sweet yellow onion finely diced

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup dry white wine

2 cups vegetable broth

3/4 cups fresh chopped flat leaf parsley

2 Tbls unsalted butter

1/4 cup of fresh cream

Parmesan cheese to taste

sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1 1/4 lb Artisan Pasta in a shape that will capture the peas (Rigatoni, Shells, Penne,  if you use a fettuccine or fresh long pasta note that it will need more liquid for the sauce)

Directions

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-In a high sided pan add the olive oil and the chopped onion, on low heat saute until onion becomes transparent careful not to burn or brown the onionIMG_0957

-Add the peas,  white wine,  the vegetable broth, salt and pepper toss in the parsley.

-On medium heat, cook the peas ( fresh) for at least 30 minutes, pay attention to the liquid, it will reduce, add water if the liquid reduces too much and peas are not cooked. Taste the peas they should be tender to the bite….continue cooking until the peas are tender adjusting the liquid as necessary.IMG_0959

-Off the heat, in a mixing bowl add 2 cups of the cooked peas, add the cream and with an immersion blender mix until blended. (note- if you do not have an immersion blender, use a normal blender)

-Add the creamed peas back into the solid peas and let sit off  heat while  pasta is cookingIMG_0962

-In a pasta pot, fill with water and bring to boil add sea salt, then pasta.

-Cook pasta as indicated on package 1 minute less (see Pasta 101).

-Reheat the pea sauce add the butterIMG_0965

-Using a large slotted spoon, draining each spoonful, add the pasta to the pea sauce, on a lively heat mix the pasta with the sauce (remember you are still finishing off the pasta) If necessary, add liquid from the pasta water ….the sauce should be creamy not dry.  Add the parmesan cheese.  Mix well and serve.fullsizeoutput_10

Buon Appetito!!

Split Pea Soup with Spring Onions and Thyme

Another favorite soup to welcome the season.  This Split pea soup  is a light vegetarian version, few ingredients,  easy to prepare and flavorful.  Great for lunch or dinner served with a sprig of fresh thyme… Spring is in the air!!!!

Split Pea Soup with Spring Onions and Fresh Thyme

  • Servings: 2-4
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A Fresh, light Springtime favorite

Ingredients

-1 cup of split peas

-2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

-1 garlic clove

-2 large carrots

-3 celery stalks

-4 spring onions

-2 scallions

-7 cups broth, vegetable or chicken

-course grind sea salt

-fresh ground pepper

-6 sprigs of fresh thyme

Directions

-In a deep soup pot add the olive oil, finely chop the spring onions, garlic and the scallions and add to the oil.  Saute on medium/low heat until the onions are translucent about 3-5 minutes careful not to burn.IMG_0837

-Dice the celery and carrotsIMG_0835

-add the chopped celery, carrots and the split peas to the onions

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Add the broth, sea salt, pepper and thyme cook simmer on a medium/low heat. (Note- unsoaked peas can take 1-2 hours to cook you need to watch the and maintain the broth level, if you presoak the peas cooking time is around 45 minutes.)    Cook the soup until the peas are soft to the bite.IMG_0843

-remove approximately 2 cups and blend with a immersion blender, mix the creamed soup back into the pot

-serve with a drizzle of olive oilIMG_0846

As always I look forward to your feedback!

Buon Appetito!!