Friday, 5 June 2015

Butterflies and Bacon and Peas- Oh My!

Pasta con Piselli, Pancetta Croccante, Scorza di Cedro, Menta & Ricotta Salata
Pasta with Peas, Crispy Bacon, Cedro Lemon Zest, Mint & Salted Ricotta

Supper was quick, easy, spectacularly delicious and that was a good thing indeed on a Friday evening... especially as I final got to make good use of the lovely fresh peas I had bought and somehow not managed to get around to cooking all week!

As simple as they are, green peas straight from the pod are so wonderful! Frozen peas are fine and I always have some at home... But they can not compare at all to the rich, natural sweetness that fresh peas have. Do you kind-of get the message that I love them?  


One very conspicuous ingredient I used here was the cedro lemon zest... Totally unnecessary in the preparation of this dish, as regular lemon zest is perfectly fine- I just happened to have one at home and it ended up being my dessert! Ha! And you were thinking to yourselves, "where will I ever get one of those giant lemons from?!?!"

Hehe! Relax, calm down and chill out- this is another (quite literally), "easy peasy" recipe! And I want you all to easily be able to enjoy it!


As usual, you are not going to need much to make this- either ingredients or time! You will need a couple of handfuls of pasta of choice per person, a couple of handfuls of peas, a couple of rashers of bacon... Isn't that weird for a single persons supper? Haha! Still, that can be your general rule of thumb when making this for family or friends. Otherwise, you will need plenty of lemon zest, parsley and mint, an onion, a little salted ricotta (or whichever grating-cheese you may prefer) and simply salt and pepper to season. And you will soon find out that the combination of those basic flavors alone is fantastic in itself!


With all of those flavors going on, you need no other spices in this delightful dish! And yet it is so simple to make- and the whole thing is finished in 15 minutes... 20 at the most! And you all know how much I like those kinds of suppers! I think all of you probably do so too!


Ok, let's begin! Pop your saucepan on the heat and bring your water for the pasta to the boil... And in the meantime, lie your bacon in a hot pan, with no added oil of course and let it sizzle away and become dark and crispy... And low and behold, by the time that happens, the pan will have plenty of fat in it! Funny how that happens with bacon, isn't it? Haha!

Once the bacon is done, Set it to one side to cool and drip dry on a sheet of kitchen roll... and then quickly get chopping away at that onion!

So by now the water will be boiling and you can add you pasta and a good pinch of salt.

Chop the onion up finely and pop it into the frying pan to brown in the bacon fat. In the meantime, shell the peas and finely chop up the lemon zest.


After the pasta has boiled for 4-5 minutes and the onion has begun to turn golden brown, transfer the pasta to the frying pan along with enough water to cover the base, and then add the peas, the lemon zest and the parsley, finely chopped.

Stir everything together well and allow the pasta to finish cooking for a further 3-4 minutes. This will give those sweet and tender peas time to cook, for the lemon zest to flavor the broth and for the parsley to enrich everything nicely.

Keep simmering and stirring until the water is basically absorbed and evaporated down and the pasta is lush and delicious.

Yes, it's very nice like this, it's true... And it even tastes good... But we have a lot of things to add and we can do a whole lot better!

Now, to make it really magical, this dish needs those other ingredients! First and foremost, the mint leaves, finely chopped and added right at the end to preserve their delicate and intense flavor. Then, that bacon, which you can either chop up a little or crumble straight on top. Maybe a little more zest as a garnish if you like... But definitely some rich grated cheese and freshly ground pepper... And NOW you can begin to get really excited about taking a bite!

One little hint that you might want to bare in mind a little, is of course that the bacon and salted ricotta are plainly going to bring a lot of salt and seasoning into the affair, so try not to overdo it when you are seasoning.


But other than that, relax when you are making this, enjoy yourself improvising and make it your own... That's what real cooking is all about!

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