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!


  1. Creamy is good...always good with pasta.

  2. *groans*

    Can't do peas, myself. Never could. Pancetta, on the other hand, is totally yummy!

  3. While grinning and bearing your joke, I'm loving this pasta with peas.

  4. I laughed out loud. I love pasta and could easily eat it 3 times per week, but it's always our entree, cause we don't think about using it as a side. I like the idea and since this dish has peas, it can be considered a healthy veggie side dish :)

  5. haha I liked the joke :) I love me some peas and I swear I could live on pasta so this would be a perfect side dish for me! Hey, did you know that if your fish are sick you can put some peas in the aquarium and it will make them feel better when they eat them? (Not a joke lol)

  6. You're really getting good at this food styling business!

    This sounds like a great meal with all my daughter's favorites. She loves steak, pasta and peas. Maybe I'll bribe her with this meal - LOL!

  7. All right, I'll admit I laughed. I love peas with pasta, add pancetta and I am totally sold.

  8. Funny! Love those peas and this would be a great dish for dinner tonight! Thanks!

  9. Great recipe to take on the boat, while fishing for Big Ole Reds, just kidding, and okay it was funny, I was on the edge, and you got me.
    Wanna do the steaks this weekend, need to order the BBQ sauce from last week.

  10. A perfect light pasta that looks wonderful!

  11. What a lovely pasta dish Chris. I'm sure pancetta must be great in it, but anything with bacon is better.

  12. Fun fact..My first two Airedales would eat stew, eat the bowl clean, except for the peas, that looked like they were polished and left in the bowl!

  13. I'm sorry, but I hate peas. They ruin everything!

  14. Time for peas in my house again!

  15. That looks like a great side dish! Chicken Legs loves peas - I'll have to make this.

    I bought pork tenderloins last night. I am one step closer to making some of your great looking pork recipes!

  16. LOL - that was the first joke my grandson tried to tell me. His telling of it was as funny as the real joke.

    I love this side dish and I'll be trying it tonight! Thanks!

  17. Oh my, can't tell you how much I love peas! I would eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the funny thing is, I HATED them up until a year ago!

  18. Too funny! Can't wait to pull that one on Hubby:) Plus, I get to share your peas and pasta. How nice.

  19. I'm not even sure that you can call that a joke, but I'll allow it.

    The pasta dish however looks delicious. Peas get no respect!

  20. I totally laughed!!!! This sounds like a wonderful side for the rib eyes!

  21. Man... I saw a totally different end to that story...i thought to poor bear was going to get kicked somewhere else....

    what is wrong with me??

  22. I am shaking my head at you. And laughing. Simultaneously. That was bad. Really bad. In an it's-11-pm-and-I've-been-studying-anatomy-for-six-hours kind of way. So really. It was good.

    This dish looks delicious! All that cream with the pancetta...uhhh heaven.

  23. you just reminded me about how i need to incorporate more peas into my cooking. i actually really like peas, and i think they look so cute! they look especially cute in that pasta of yours!

  24. I should not admit that I was furrowing my brow at your story ,thinking "really, they do that"...oh boy, I am in trouble. Your penne with peas really looks quite like Spring, and that is a good thing.
    As always, great post.

  25. LOL!!!! That pasta looks delicious....Love the colors. Nice post!


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