Pea season is upon us. The beginning of the season is the best with the taught pods bursting with plump peas. At the end of the season, the skins will turn leathery and the peas hard and floury. The surprising sweetness of the young peas is the perfect match for salty prosciutto. This is the a great springtime side dish which can be tossed with bowtie pasta and served with grated pecorino cheese to children and adults alike. Thanks to the availability of flash-frozen peas, this dish can be made year-round.
Peas are considered a superfood as they are not only packed with vitamins and minerals but also have carotenoid phytonutrients, which support healthy eyes. There is also some evidence that these phytonutrients are powerful in combating stomach cancer and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Overall the common pea is a low fat source of protein and fibre with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits so you can feel good about feeding them to your family.
Piselli al prosciutto (peas with prosciutto) – Lazio
1 small onion, skin and ends removed and discarded, onion finely chopped
20 grams butter
3 slices of prosciutto, fat and meat separated and chopped separately
180 mls chicken or vegetable stock
1.5 kilos peas, podded
Place the onion, half the butter and the prosciutto fat in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until the fat becomes translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 120 mls of the chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the peas, the rest of the chicken stock, the prosciutto and salt to taste. Cook until the peas are cooked, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the butter and stir until melted. Serve.