Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Pasta with Peas, Prosciutto, and Cream

Pasta with Peas, Prosciutto, and Cream
This classic combo makes for a quick, tasty dinner

Need luscious comfort food in a hurry? Pasta to the rescue!

This dish cooks so quickly that it’s ideal for weeknight dinner. But it’s tasty enough for weekend company, too.

So whenever you make this, buon appetito

Pasta with Peas, Prosciutto, and Cream

Recipe: Pasta with Peas, Prosciutto, and Cream

Peas, prosciutto, and pasta are a classic combo. The sauce is usually cream based (as ours is here), though the dish is also good with a simple tomato sauce.

Dried pasta and frozen peas are pantry staples. Cream and prosciutto aren’t, but we’re lucky enough to have some left over from the holidays. So we put them to good use in this recipe.

This dish is quite similar to our Creamy Pasta with Asparagus and Ham. Our inspiration for both recipes was Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

Prep time for this dish is about 5 minutes. Total cooking time (including the time it takes for the pasta water to boil) is no more than 15 minutes.

This recipe yields about 2 main-course servings or 4 starters. You can easily be double or triple it if you’re feeding a crowd.

Ingredients

  • ~1 tablespoon kosher salt (for seasoning the pasta cooking water)
  • 6 to 8 ounces dried pasta (we prefer a sturdy shape like penne or farfalle; see Notes)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 to 3 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin slices or fine dice
  • ~½ cup heavy cream (to taste; see Notes)
  • ~1 cup frozen peas (see Notes)
  • ½ to ¾ ounce grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (about ½ cup, packed tightly)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional; see Notes)
  • extra grated Parmigiano Reggiano for garnish (optional; see Notes)    

Procedure

  1. Fill a large cooking pot with water (use a container that holds about 4 quarts) and place it on the stovetop to boil. When the water comes to a boil, add salt to taste. Add the pasta and set a timer for 5 minutes (or about 2 minutes before the pasta is likely to be done; we find that penne and farfalle usually cook in around 7 to 8 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan. When the butter is melted and hot, add the prosciutto and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the cream, then continue to cook until the cream is reduced by about a third.
  3. Your timer will probably be going off about now. Add the frozen peas to the pasta, then continue cooking until the pasta is done to your taste (we like ours al dente). 
  4. Pour the pasta and peas into a colander to drain. Then add the drained pasta and peas to the frying pan. Toss with the cream and prosciutto, then add the grated cheese. Toss again. Taste, then season with salt and/or freshly ground black pepper if you wish (see Notes).
  5. Toss the ingredients a final time, then plate the dish. You may want to offer grated Parmigiano Reggiano at table for those who like to sprinkle a bit more over their pasta.

Pasta with Peas, Prosciutto, and Cream
Notes

  • Exact quantities aren’t critical in this recipe, so adjust to your taste. But don’t overdo it with the cream – the pasta and other ingredients should be lightly coated, not swimming in sauce.
  • We sometimes add a diced shallot and sauté it for a minute before adding the chopped prosciutto in Step 2. This adds more depth of flavor.
  • We typically don’t add salt and pepper in Step 4, preferring to do so at table.
  • Freshly ground black pepper is terrific with this dish. We usually don’t add more salt, though – we think the prosciutto provides enough.
  • Speaking of salt: We use kosher salt for all our cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
  • BTW, adding salt to the cooking water in Step 1 helps season the pasta.
  • We like to use a hearty pasta shape when we make this dish. We often use farfalle (bowties), though tubular shapes like penne work well too. But you could use spaghetti or any other shape you fancy.
  • We typically use 3 ounces of dried pasta for each main-course serving, 2 ounces for each starter. But adjust the quantity to your appetite.
  • We like to use frozen peas in this dish because they’re good quality – and it’s so easy to cook them in the pasta water (they need just a couple of minutes). Plus, we always have some on hand. 
  • About Parmigiano Reggiano: We recommend buying wedges of the imported stuff that you have to grate – its flavor is superior to most domestic brands. Stay away from the already-grated stuff that comes in containers (unless you like the taste of grated cardboard). 
  • You could also consider using Pecorino Romano. We think its flavor is a bit too sharp for this dish, but you may disagree.

Pasta with Peas, Prosciutto, and Cream

Noodling Around

Splendido!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Hard to beat this flavor combo.”

“Pasta-bly the best dish we’ve had so far this year,” I said.

“Your jokes keep getting more fusilli,” said Mrs K R. “As in screwed up.”

“Hey, I’m tortellini on a roll,” I said. “Just call me a saucy guy.”

“I’d offer you a penne for your thoughts,” said Mrs K R. “But I’d expect change back.”

Pasta la vista, baby.

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62 comments:

  1. Such a classic! And anything involves prosciutto is irresistible!

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    1. Hi Angie, we can never resist prosciutto. Or cream, for that matter. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Looks delicious! I bought a couple of shallots Monday. They might have found a home!

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    1. Hi Anne, your shallots will enjoy their new home. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Great dish and a good standby for quick dinners.

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    1. Hi Pat and Dahn, one of those oldies but goodies. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I'm always for a delicious dinner in a hurry 😍 I know the whole family will love this recipe, John!

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    1. Hi Marcelle, we like long, involved recipes, but sometimes you need something really quick and really good. Like this! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. We love this dish and have it often, sometimes with prosciutto, sometimes with ham and occasionally with smoked salmon. Pure yum...

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    1. Hi Ron, we love this with ham or smoked salmon, too! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. What a great recipe, easy to make and delicious. Thanks John!

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    1. Hi Gerlinde, it's good stuff, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. I vividly remember the first time I tasted this dish. It was a banquet for a conference that for some amazing reason was held in the evening at the museum at the Forum in Rome. The museum was kept open for the conference only, and there was a brief talk about the antiquities. What an experience! What a pasta!


    best... maae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, great story! And such a fun memory, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. A tasty & comforting combination. Yum!

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    1. Hi Pam, comfort is always good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Cream and prosciutto aren't pantry staples?! Come on! LOL this looks delicious!

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    1. Hi Laura, LOL! Actually, we tend to have cream on hand more often than not, but there will be a month or two at a time when it's not in the refrigerator. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. Great looking and easy? (well, maybe I shouldn't finish that joke!!!) After all the heavy cooking over the holidays, it's nice to have an easy but delicious meal.
    Eva https://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Eva, LOL!Surmised we didn't think of using that joke in our ending. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Just love this dish, and its cousin, pasta carbonara. I love how you portion things for two.

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    1. Hi Rosemary, it's been quite some time since we've made pasta carbonara -- time to again. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Easy peasy and oh so good! Great little simple pasta and with the frozen peas and even the prosciutto, it could all come right out of the freezer. Great idea for when I'm too lazy to cook. Thanks!

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    1. Hi MJ, we made this exactly because we were too lazy to cook! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. I have not made this classic with farfalle but they do look good ! Like the idea of smoked salmon also and appreciate your judicious use of my perennial bete noir of cream . . . more likely substituted with yoghurt or a tad of light sour cream in my case . . . yes, well !

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    1. Hi Eha, sour cream with smoked salmon might be rather nice. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. yay for prosciutto! yes great to have a classic like this on standby.

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    1. Hi Sherry, this is one of those dishes we always make when we have prosciutto and cream in the house. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Un ottimo piatto di pasta, molto gustoso!!!

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    1. Hi Speedy70, isn't this great? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Looks delicious. Simple, but elegant. Pasta dishes are always a good thing!

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    1. Hi Dawn, we can't get enough pasta around here. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I've always liked the peas and pasta combo. And love the addition of prosciutto. Great recipe, thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, peas and pasta just work. A favorite combo of ours, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Thanks for the reminder of this classic trio! I bet I haven't made it in a decade---and it's perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. Thanks!!

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    1. Hi Liz, it's easy to forget about dishes, isn't it? This one should be in your rotation a little more often than once a decade. :D Thanks for the comment.

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  19. This sounds heartwarming and delicious!

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  20. We use frozen peas alot in winter and this recipe (ingredients) looks very rich and healthy. I am sure it must be delicious.

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    1. Hi B&S, it's a wonderful dish! SO good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. You just can't go wrong with delicious and easy meals like this. Who does not love pasta and prosciutto?! Winner Dinner!

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    1. Hi Bobbi, classics are classic for a reason. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Yum! This is a classic for a very good reason. It's delicious! And I do agree pecorino would be too sharp, Parmesan provides the right balance.

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    1. Hi Frank, much as we love pecorino, it's a bit difficult to use sometimes. When it works, though, it's terrific. Parm is more mellow, so more adaptable, at least for us. Thanks for the comment.

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  23. John, as I mentioned on social media, this has been a favorite of mine since college. I like some of the changes you’ve made, like the shape of the pasta… I was taught to use it with fresh fettuccine, but I think it’s more practical with a short pasta. I need to have this soon!

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    1. Hi David, we used to make this with fettuccine, too, but have really come to prefer a dried pasta with this dish. Better depth of flavor, at least we think. Thanks for the comment.

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  24. A perfect weeknight meal in a flash, especially since I almost always have all of these ingredients on-hand. A perfect meal to enjoy again and again.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, this is so nice, isn't it? Just a wonderful dinner. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. Green peas and prosciutto are one of my favourite pasta combinations, and it's even better with some extra cream and cheese :) It looks terrific!

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    1. Hi Ben, it is a terrific dish, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Replies
    1. Hi R, this is so good! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. I love a good cream-based sauce. This is my go-to when I see it at restaurants and now I can make it at home!

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    1. Hi Ashley, always nice to make restaurant dishes at home! Thanks for the comment.

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  28. I'm always up for luscious comfort food in a hurry! And this dish fits the bill perfectly. :-) ~Valentina

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    1. Hi Valentina, it does. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. I can't tell if this recipe is typically Italian or rather Italian-American, but what a burst of flavour! I need to try your recipe soon :)

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    1. Hi FT, probably slightly more Italian-American, I'd guess, although many Italian-American recipes would have a thicker sauce, and more of it. So really a nice balance, I'd say. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. Cream's a pantry staple for me! This is the kind of simple dish that shines anyway due to great ingredients!

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    1. Hi Inger, it's really the ingredients that makes this dish. Thanks for the comment.

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