So many of my recipes seem to come from a necessity to make something out of nothing. Well not out of nothing, but out of little bits and pieces of stuff I have left. When some might think “I have nothing to eat for dinner” I say, “Yeah right!”. I got home late and was rather hungry but instead of stopping for fast food (which I detest for the most part anyway- sometimes Arby’s) or eating a bowl of cereal I decided to pull together this dish. No kidding from start to finish: 20 minutes. The longest part is getting your pasta water to a boil! If you can wait that long to eat then I say, make yourself something. And if I’m not turning to eggs to bring together a quick meal (which I so often do) I love turning to pasta. You will feel better about what you ate and use up ingredients and/or leftovers that may have otherwise gone to waste.
This is a pasta dish (because I always seem to have some dried pasta- even if you have to mix and match lol) and the “sauce”, if you can call it that, is a simple one made with a little bit of olive oil, butter and a bit of cream. Saute some onion and garlic, delgaze with a splash of white wine (or chicken broth if you don’t have wine or even with some of the pasta cooking water!), stir in some cream, frozen peas and some Parmesan cheese (or Romano or whatever you like or have) mix in the pasta and voila! I added some crisped up prosciutto to this for a nice salty bite in here but you could omit it or use bacon/pancetta/ham/salami/leftover sausage/chicken… you get the idea.
A note about pasta water: it is magical. Next time you are making a pasta dish, reserve some of the pasta water in case you need it. Pasta water is seasoned (you DO salt your pasta water, RIGHT??) and full of starch from the pasta which allows it to be an excellent agent to deliver flavor and body to your pan sauces. You might think adding water will thin down your sauce. In a way yes in that it will stretch it a bit (which is great), but it will really add a nice body to your sauce and in a way actually thicken it up and bring it together. Ideally when I made this dish, I would have delgazed my pan with some wine after sauteing my aromatics but I was all out (imagine such a thing, lol!) so I instead stuck my spoon right in the water of boiling pasta and pulled out some starchy water and threw that in the saute pan instead! I was also out of chicken broth or I may have turned to that. I did add a bouillon cube (I prefer stock over this obviously but they are great to have around for nights like this!) so some extra flavor. I added some additional pasta water later on to stretch and finish my sauce a bit, but you can do this to your preference. You could use additional heavy cream instead but I didn’t want to go too crazy with the calories and I also didn’t want the dish to be too heavy so I found that just a little bit of cream did the trick without being overwhelming or burdening me with guilt!
I guess if you’ve been following me for some time you think I don’t have a guilty bone in my body in regards to food… That is mostly true. LOL. But come on, a girl’s still gotta look good! 😉
If you want to omit the cream all together that is your prerogative. I just don’t have that much willpower. You should enjoy what you eat, not just eat out of necessity.
Anyway, this is a very adaptable recipe, like so many of my dinner-time posts so have fun with it! I got the idea to add peas to this from Emeril, although I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it myself- I love peas in pasta dishes! Stick with frozen ones though, canned ones would be far too mushy. I hate canned peas. Hate them. I actually thought I didn’t like peas in general for a long time because those are the only kind I had had. Thank goodness my eyes were opened. Canned peas= yuck. Just saying.
Prosciutto Cream Pasta with Peas
(Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s “Fettuccine Pasta with Prosciutto, Peas, and a Cream Sauce” on foodnetwork.com)
- 1 lb. dried spaghetti or fettuccine pasta
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 ounces thinly sliced and roughly chopped prosciutto
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion, small dice
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. dried basil
- ½ tsp. dried parsley
- ¼ tsp. dried oregano
- Pinch of crushed red pepper, optional
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 cube chicken bouillon
- 1 ½ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
- ¾ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium high heat and cook the pasta until just barley al dente. Reserve 1 ½ cups of the cooking water
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan (big enough to hold the pasta later on) over medium high heat
- Crisp the chopped prosciutto in the olive oil for about 5 minutes
- Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate
- Melt the butter in the pan
- Cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes
- Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes
- Add in the dried herbs, crushed red pepper (if using) and a pinch of salt and pepper
- Deglaze with ½ cup of the pasta cooking water
- Add in the bouillon cube and stir until dissolved
- Reduce heat to medium
- Stir in the heavy cream and bring to a simmer over medium heat
- Mix in ½ cup of the grated cheese and the frozen peas
- Stir in the prosciutto
- Stir in additional pasta water to reach desired consistency (about 1 cup)
- Stir in the pasta and allow to set in the sauce for about 5 minutes
- Serve with the remaining parmesan cheese sprinkled on top