Thursday, March 24, 2011

They look so cute all lined up in their pods. Their taste is simple, sweet and a little earthy.
Spring peas are here in Istanbul! I was delighted to find a stall full of beyzelye (peas) at the pazar in 4Levent the other day.
Usually, peas are one of the first vegetables of the new season. I decided to get a half a kilo at first, but the satıcı kept telling me that was too little, so I bought a kilo instead.

I haven’t shelled peas for several years. When I was little, I remember helping my mom out in the garden and eating peas fresh out of the pod as fast as my small hands could open them. I probably didn’t provide her too much help.

Well, a little over 30 minutes later and I can tell you that 1 kilo of peas yields about 2 cups of shelled peas. The pods generally contained three to six peas each.
Next, I had to decide how to cook the peas. The Turkish way is to cook peas with olive oil, tomatoes and onions, maybe some carrots too, and serve as a side dish. That sounded good, but some reason I kept picturing a past cover of a food magazine depicting peas and pasta.

Just thinking about peas, pasta and oh, pork too, had my mouth watering. We had some leftover German Speck to use in the fridge, and I bought a little extra prosciutto (from Şütte) to add to it. I was tickled green! (If you’re reading this in Turkey and don’t want to use pork, I would try using my reliable Turkish substitute of sucuk.)

A quick search through my collection of cookbooks yielded exactly the recipe I wanted. Pasta and peas found in “Rao’s Cookbook” by Frank Pellegrino.

The recipe comes together in under 30 minutes. I served the pasta with a side salad of Çoban Salatası. A little mix of Italian and Turkish together in one meal!

Afiyet olsun!
Pasta, Pork and Peas
Adapted from “Rao’s Cookbook” by Frank Pellegrino

1 lb. fettucini noodles (or small macaroni)
½ c. olive oil
1 ea. small onion, diced small
6 ea. cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
½ c. prosciutto, diced small
¼ c. dry white wine
2 c. fresh peas
TT salt and freshly ground black pepper
As needed freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Place the peas in a microwaveable bowl with a little bit of water. Cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes until al dente. Set aside.
2. Place the pasta in a pot of rapidly boiling, salted water. Boil until al dente. Drain, and reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.
3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute’ the onion, garlic and proscuitto until the onion is soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Deglaze the pot with the white wine. Add the cooked peas and pasta. Add some of the reserved pasta water to make a “sauce” to lightly coat the pasta.
5. Season the pasta with salt and pepper. (I used very little salt because of the salt in the pork.) Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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Julia said...

Yes, peas are on the market down here in Fethiye too. Your meal looks really springlike! :) I love these new peas in risotto too.

Joy said...

Risotto does sound good! And I should probably try and make them the traditional Turkish way too. =)