Growing up on frozen peas, I had no idea what it tasted like to open a pea pod and pop fresh peas in my mouth on a sunny day. Now I savor spring days and dishes filled with spring peas; topped on crostini with ricotta, stuffed in ravioli, simply sauteed or eaten raw - oh how I count the ways... but my hands down favorite - peas and pancetta! Enjoy the simple spring recipe:
piselli & pancetta
12 oz or 330 gr of fresh shelled sweet peas, rinsed
4 oz or 100 gr pancetta, bacon or guanciale, cured pig’s cheek (omit if vegetarian)
1 small onion, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic
2-3 cherry tomatoes, halved
spoonful red wine vinegar
small handful parsley, chopped
tiny bit of mint, chopped (optional)
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Bring a medium pot up to boil. In the meantime, in a medium skillet on medium-low heat, slowly render down the pancetta for 4-5 minutes, trying not to brown it and not crispy. If it starts to brown remove the pan from the heat or lower the flame.
Next add garlic & onion, sauté for 5-6 minutes.
(Vegetarian Note: Just omit the the pancetta & sauté the onions & garlic in olive oil.)
When the onions & garlic are about 2 minutes from being ready, add the tomatoes.
At the same time toss the peas in the water and blanch for 2-3 minutes. You want them approximately half-cooked. Strain the peas and throw them directly into the pan with the pancetta adding a spoonful of the pea-water. Allow to cook until peas are cooked but still have a bite.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper.
Just before you serve, toss in the herbs and drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil.