Of all the food I grew up eating, it is the simplest dishes that please me and I still crave after. Like my mom’s lentil soup. It is a straight forward recipe with none of the ingredients being hard to come by. It comes out perfect every time and just as delicious as I remember it. When I was back in New Jersey my mom felt bad she didn’t have any lentil soup in the freezer. (You have got to love my mom!) I told her it was fine, and besides; she didn’t know I was coming. I did although ask her for some Pasta e Piselli. What? You do not know what that is? Sorry, but you are missing out! Pasta e Piselli is pasta and peas. I love it and my husband will not touch it. My husband may be an adventurious eater. He eats much more then I; the vegetarian that I have become, but a pea he will not touch. We have a framed poem he wrote when he was young about his dislike of peas; so I frankly think there is a snowball’s chance in hell that I would ever get him to eat them. Usually, when Brian travels or will not be home for dinner I make it for myself. I savor every little bit of it but it is always better when you can share it with someone.
Being that my mom and I spent all of our time together in the hospital, we had no time to cook anything. As my mom drove me to the airport she promised me that when I visit next time she will have the pasta e piselli ready as soon as I land. She also said she would have something special for Brian. (Like I said, you have got to love my mom.) I called her when I was back in Seattle to ask her exactly how she made it. I wanted it to be just like hers. Now that I was thinking about it I had to have some. So one night this past week when Brian was working late I whipped up enough pasta e piselli for myself, plus enough for a leftover lunch. It was wonderful, it was delicious; it would only taste better if I had someone to share it with. I will not hold my breath for Brian…I will have to wait for my next visit to New Jersey. It really is amazing how something this simple can taste so great.
Pasta e Piselli (serves 2)
*Note: This dish easily doubles and triples.
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup of veggie or chicken stock
½ an onion, chopped small
2 cups of peas, fresh or frozen
1 tsp of crushed red pepper
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/3 lb of pasta, any size or shape you like
Cheese for grating, either Ricotta Salata or Parmesan
First, place a large pot full of water (enough to cover the amount of pasta you are cooking) over high heat. Salt the water and bring it to a boil. *Note: if using frozen peas be sure they are defrosted at this point.
Next, place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once your pan is warm add your olive oil and heat through. Add in your onion and crushed red pepper. Stir it all and let it simmer about 5 minutes. You are looking for the onion to become soft and slightly translucent.
Then; add the peas, sea salt, and black pepper to your sauté pan. Stir well and let it all simmer about a minute before adding your stock. Let is all simmer, do not let it boil.
Meanwhile, your pasta water should be coming to a boil. Once you water is boiling add in your pasta and stir well. Cook it according to the packages instruction, stirring it frequently.
Finally, strain your pasta when it is done and add it to your sauté pan. Toss it well and divide it to serve. Sprinkle well with cheese and enjoy.