Pasta e piselli (Pasta with Ham and Peas)

9 Nov

These Northeastern storms (Sandy and the nor-easter) have brought out the darker side of humor in many of us, as in “What next: plagues of locusts? Frogs?”

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse seem to have taken a liking to New York and environs; they are galloping through with thundering hooves and much of it is pretty horrible. Mind you, we are doing fine at my house, now that the power is back and school has started  – in fits and starts, actually, as sudden power outages have closed us down a few times. We are lucky!

Easy-peasy ham and peas….

But we are striving for normalcy and for me normal is blogging about food.

So here is a quickie I did at some point when I was afraid of losing my frozen peas and the chunk of cooked ham steak that I had in a freezer bag thawing out and slightly freezer-burning. It is easy enough to do on a camp stove and honestly, I suspect I have written about it before, but when you are striving for normalcy a bit of repetition of good stuff is the opposite of bad.

SWEET! Pasta e piselli is comforting in times of stress.

This can be done in a jiffy, is buttery and sweet and salty and stodgy; the Italians don’t often go wrong with their classics and neither will you.



Ham and peas are a classic combination – think split pea soup….

Pasta e piselli (Penne with ham and peas)

(you can play with the proportions a bit; this is double what I usually make for our Mom-and-kid family!)

1 lb penne pasta (the shape is not super-important – lots of people use tagliatelle or other long, butter-clingy-types)

2 Tbs butter (unsalted is fine), plus some to finish, if desired

1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

¼ Cup onion (preferably white), minced fine

8 oz (about 1 Cup) cooked ham, diced into ¼-1/2” squares

1 Cup frozen peas, defrosted (or thrown in with the pasta 3-4 minutes before the pasta is cooked through)

½ Cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta following package directions. Before you drain, reserve ¼ Cup or so of cooking liquid. Return pasta to the pot, stir in some olive oil to coat, cover and keep warm.

In a large skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil at medium to medium-high. When the foaming subsides, add the onion and cook until translucent and tender (at least five minutes).

Add ham and stir to coat. After a minute, add peas.  Pour ham and pea mixture over pasta. If it is too dry, add reserved cooking liquid/an additional knob of butter. Stir to coat. Stir in cheese (or allow diners to add cheese to their individual dishes), salt and pepper to taste, and serve.


20 Responses to “Pasta e piselli (Pasta with Ham and Peas)”

  1. Tammy November 11, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    I love the line, “the Italians don’t often go wrong with their classics and neither will you”. Beautiful!

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy November 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

      Thanks Tammy! It is a relief to be back…but now I am so far behind on EVERYTHING; I owe you several visits!

  2. Mad Dog November 10, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    That’s a good dish to have while you wait for the Ghost Busters to arrive 😉

  3. harlemfoodlocal November 10, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Striving for normal…I hear you…though the hurricane is long past NYC is not back to normal yet. Part of me feels extreme guilt about blogging when there is still so much help to be given because my life returned to normal so quickly. But I, like you, have to feed myself, so maybe it’s ok if we take photos and share.

  4. Tw Barritt November 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Looks delicious – we too, have indulged in a lot of comforting dishes. Now about those locusts, when I moved back in after 7 days without power, I discovered 10 grasshoppers prancing through the inside of my house! So the plague analogy is not far off!

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy November 9, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

      Grasshoppers/ Or those nasty cave/camel crickets that have been plaguing us for the last couple of years?

  5. Karen November 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    This would be a good meal under normal circumstances…bravo for trying to make life normal when it isn’t.

  6. Susan at Savvy Single Suppers November 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    Dear HC&E,

    So happy to learn that you and yours have survived, adapted and are trying to return to normal. When a crisi hits, my mind always turns to feeding people (as all women for millenia tend to do). Wishing you and your neighbours a full recovery at he earliest opportunity.

  7. sybaritica November 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    I had something like that in a cream based sauce not long ago. Wasn’t great … yours looks so much better!

  8. Bluejellybeans November 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    Muy rico Natalia. Yo hago guisantes con jamón frecuentemente (es tan fácil y rico), pero nunca se me había ocurrido mezclarlos con pasta. No tenía ni idea de que esto fuese un clásico italiano… ¡Gracias!

  9. Danny November 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Glad to hear you’re all getting back to normal after the awful storms! Even without the weather troubles, this is a great tasting, simple dish! I’ve also done something similar with prosciutto (instead of ham), peas and bread crumbs.

  10. Jose November 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Hola, se ve deliciosa y facil de hacer.

  11. Conor Bofin November 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    Excellent. I like that you are at least getting some normalcy back. My various friends in NY and NJ have had varying degrees of awfulness. The blog is interesting as you are using it to say that you are OK. That is good news.
    Nice looking pasta.

Talk foodie to me, baby...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: