Monday, March 29, 2010

Penne with Peas

I am sure that you have heard much about the plight of polar bears and global warming but did you know that they are using the simple green pea to catch the polar bears for relocation?

It seems the scientists and environmentalists have discovered an environmentally safe way to trap them. They excavate a 3.5 meter hole in the ice and then place green peas around the edge of the hole, spaced out at 1/2 meter intervals.

Then when a polar bear comes to take a pea they run up and kick him in the ice hole!

What? Oh come on, don't be like that. It was funny!

Anyway here is the side dish from last night's Smoked Black Pepper Ribeye Steaks. This is a recipe from Ciao Tuscany by Johnny Carrabba & Damian Mandola.

Penne con Piselli (Penne with Peas)
Source: Ciao Tuscony

1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup pancetta, diced (I substituted bacon)
1/2 pound peas, fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp water
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1 pound penne pasta (substituted angel hair)

Cook your pasta according to directions. Reserve 1 cup of the liquid after straining but it might not be needed.

Melt the butter in large saute pan and saute the onion and pancetta for 5-8 minutes, when the pancetta starts to crisp. I was using bacon which didn't cook as fast as the onion. Next time I'd skip the butter, cook the bacon by itself for 2 minutes and then add the onion. Actually, next time I'd go to the damn store and get pancetta, it was Sunday and I was lazy.

Reduce heat to low and add the peas and 2 Tbsp water, cooking the peas until tender. Add the cream, season with salt and pepper (I used some of the smoked pepper I had made) and continue cooking for 2 minutes.

Add in the cheese in batches until melted.

Toss the pasta into the sauce to coat. If the sauce is too thick or you don't have enough sauce, add in some of the reserved pasta water. We didn't have to but we had cut the pasta and peas to 1/2 of the listed quantity because we like extra sauce.

Feel free to top with some more cheese.

This was a creamy, decadent side. I would have liked it better with the penne just because the peas kept falling off the angel hair as I ate. But that is nit picking because this is a wonderful comfort side dish.

Just be careful while your eating it and keep an eye over your shoulder. Some polar bear might try to sneak up and kick you in the ice hole!