Peas and pasta with bacon or ham is a classic macaroni combination. In this dish, Parmasean gives the desired salty-savory note. Some of the peas remain whole, to give a pelasing, pop-in-the-mouth texture; the rest are blitzed to form a creamy pea sauce. Click Here to Read About River Cottage Veg.
- 1 Pound shelled peas (fresh or frozen) or petite peas
- 10 Ounces macaroni or smallish pasta shapes, such as orecchiette, fusilli, or orzo
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 Ounce Parmesan, hard goat cheese, or other well-flavored hard cheese, coarsely grated, plus extra to serve
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Shredded basil or flat-leaf, parsley, for garnish (optional)
Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil so that you’re ready to cook the pasta while the sauce is coming together.
Put the peas in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender — just a couple of minutes for frozen or very tender, fresh peas, longer for older fresh peas.
When the peas are almost cooked, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small frying pan over low heat and add the garlic. Let it cook gently for just a couple of minutes, without coloring, then remove from the heat.
Drain the peas, reserving the cooking water. Put about half of them in a blender with 6 tablespoons of the cooking water, the butter and garlic, and the grated cheese. Blitz to a smooth, loose purée, adding a little more water if needed. Combine with the whole peas and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drain the pasta as soon as it is ready and toss immediately with the hot pea sauce. Serve topped with plenty of ground black pepper and more grated cheese. Shredded basil or chopped flat-leaf parsley is a good, but by no means essential, finishing touch.