Pasta with Peas and Prosciutto

Pasta with Peas and Prosciutto

When my daughter was younger she always asked all her friends two questions: “what did you eat for breakfast?” and “what are you eating for lunch?” After years of working alongside me in the kitchen on videos, books and photo shoots, her attempt at polite conversation with any one was always about food. I remember once she had a friend turn to her in the car and say, slightly annoyed and clearly fatigued by the daily question, “why do you care about what I eat?” It was a good question since all her other second grade friends asked more tantalizing stuff like “what are you doing after school?” or “what’s your favourite colour?” My daughter very flatly replied to her friend, “I don’t know. I guess because I care.”

As I quietly listened from the driver’s seat, I remember feeling mildly horrified when her friend asked and then sweetly relieved by Scarlett’s response–Even if her friend didn’t understand why she cared about what they ate, at least they knew she cared about them. Honestly, I loved that she always asked those questions because the responses she got were always so amazing. There was the classmate who had a 1/2 a gingerbread house for lunch one day before the holidays (the other half went to the boy’s brother) or the girlfriend who ate Triscutt crackers with melted cheese slices on the regular. Scarlett always found the eating habits of other households so interesting. And, to be honest, so did I.

Today Scarlett still inquires about her friends daily meals, but it’s less of an entry into conversation and more a filler. On a recent car pool, she asked the mother of her friend, “What are you making for dinner?” After hearing the details of their upcoming meal, she ran into the house, dropped her stuff and told me how the family was having a new pasta recipe they were excited to try. Then Scarlett, with a judgemental tone, said, “I love pasta but you never make it for us for dinner!”

This lovely dish was created to shut that tone down. It uses a cream sauce that I perfected last summer and will show up in an upcoming pasta and sausage dish that was on heavy rotation last summer that Scarlett conveniently forgot about. It also uses my favourite freezer staple of peas since they’re quick to cook and instantly give any dish a green.The prosciutto was for my husband who loves the salty, cured meat.

I don’t usually develop recipes as a way to show up my family but this one was definitely invented as a way to say “who says I don’t make you pasta!” Or you can look at it as a love letter. This, my beautiful daughter, is for you. I know that’s how she saw it. She also thought it was one of my better pasta inventions. It’s amazing how effective I can be has a recipe developer when my dinner choices are challenged.

Photo by Jasmine deBoer

Creamy Pasta with Peas and Prosciutto

Ingredients

  • 500g pasta noodle
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 slices of prosciutto, torn
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • freshly grated parmesan, to serve

Method

In a large pot of heavily salted water, cook your pasta according to package directions for al dente. In the last minute of cooking time, drop your peas into the water. Drain your pasta and peas; reserving 1/2 cup of the water.  In a bowl, toss 1 tablespoon of the oil with the pasta and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, warm your oil and then toss in your garlic and shallot. Add salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant. Add your cream and the reserved pasta water and increase the heat so the sauce simmers and thickens, about 2 minutes. Add your pasta and peas into the pan and toss to coat.

Place pasta on serving platter and top with prosciutto and mint. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

 

 

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