Saturday, 5 September 2009

Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas

This recipe from my Great Food Fast book is simple, tasty, and quick. I didn't actually take any pictures of the process because I didn't think I would post it here, and with there not being many steps I didn't bother grabbing my camera until I saw how pretty it looked in the bowl. Once I'd tried it though, I changed my mind.

Ingredients serves 4

340g/12oz fettuccine
1 tbsp butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
65ml/¼ cup heavy cream
1 package (280g/10oz) frozen peas
8 slices prosciutto (about 115g/4oz), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
50g/½ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus more for serving (optional)


As I've mentioned before, my pasta choices are limited, so I used spaghetti for this instead of fettuccine. I think any 'strand' pasta would work.

I used a mix of finely chopped onion and garlic instead of a shallot.

I can't buy frozen peas at my store, so I settled for canned. If I were in the UK I wouldn't do this because tinned peas are really soft and wouldn't hold up to mixing very well. The tinned peas in Japan seem to be a little more robust so it worked, but I would recommend using frozen if at all possible.

I couldn't get fresh Parmesan so I bought ready grated. I also threw in a big pinch of shredded mixed cheese to the sauce, but that is personal preference.

If you wanted to switch the Prosciutto with bacon or a smokey ham I think it would work really well.


1) Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup (250ml) of the pasta water, drain the pasta, and return the pasta to the saucepan/

2) Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat; add the shallot and cook until softened (about 5 mins). Add the cream, peas, and prosciutto; bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the peas are heated through (3-4 minutes).

3) Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Pour the sauce over the pasta; add the Parmesan, and season generously with salt and pepper. Add enough of the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce as desired. Serve immediately; top with additional Parmesan if desired.

Note: I was really tempted to leave out the lemon because I would convinced everything would curdle and it would be gross: not so! The lemon gives a subtle lift to the dish, making it lighter and the flavours brighter.

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