During my first year living in Bologna I shared an apartment with four other women. Three of us remained the entire year while the other two rooms saw a rotation of both American and Italian housemates - and one lovely lady from South America. She stayed with us but very briefly but she left an indelible mark on me when she made fresh peas with pancetta.
Fresh Peas with Parmesan & Pancetta
2.5 cups fresh peas in the shell, yields approximately one cup peas
1/4 cup pancetta, cubed*
water, substitute chicken stock for more flavor
parmesan, to taste
parsley, to garnish
salt & pepper to taste
Shell the peas into a colander and rinse well. In a pot set over medium-low heat begin to render the pancetta (*I had promised Thom he could eat the pancetta so I left mine as a whole piece and simply set it aside when cooked for him. I recommend cubing the pancetta and serving it mixed in with the peas). Do not over cook the pancetta!
Add the rinsed peas and enough water to cover. Raise the heat to a simmer and let cook until peas are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain any remaining water, season with salt & pepper, garnish with parmesan shavings and parsley and serve hot.
You can serve these peas as a side dish or stir them into your favorite creamy pasta dish for an added depth of flavor and color.