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!
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.
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.
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.