Thursday, September 1, 2011

Easy Peasy

I refuse to make any apologies for the extreme cheesiness (mmmm, cheese) of the above, but it very neatly sums up what this post is all about: an easy dish that is full of peas. Keeping up with me, now? Good. On the basis of my most recent blog posts you would be forgiven for thinking that I live on some sort of courgette farm; incorrect: I live in a small mid-terrace house with a garden that is busting out with veggies. Thing is, they are not all quite as high-maintenance as that oh-so-prolific marrow, and so they don't really get so much of a look in when I'm burying myself in cookbooks looking for something new to conjure up in the kitchen. So, before my peas come and go with ne'er a mention, here is a small tribute to that little round sweet nutritious veggie. My sources (various internet pages that look vaguely reputable) tell me that they are full of calcium and folic acid, as well as vitamins A and K. I am quite sure that they have plenty other wonderful things in them, but they are bright green and that is good enough for me. I had it in my head that peas are a difficult sort of veggie to grow, but I was just being veggie-ist; just because they grow differently to other vegetables does not mean that they are more trouble than they're worth. You just need to get some bamboo and pop out every now and then to tie your shoots to the sticks as they grow. And there is such a prettiness about the delicate, spindly green bits that bind themselves to anything they can cling to. The only downside that I would see in growing peas is that the pods can be difficult to spot amid the leaves, so occasionally you get a sad, withered, inedible old one that got left behind. Apart from that, they are a joy to grow, to cook and to eat. They are so very tasty that I never do anything madly exciting with them; I just cook them and land them on the plate - they cropped up alongside fishcakes on more than one occasion over the summer months. Anyhow, with my last blast of peasies I thought I should make more of an effort - not too much effort, mind, can't be having that. I took one look at this simple pea and prosciutto spaghetti recipe from Sophie Grigson's Vegetable Bible and I could practically cook it there and then without the book. Not quite, but...oh you get what I mean. EASY.

This dish is so quick to cook that if you actually stopped to time how long it takes to cook it would probably double the cooking time. A few things get underway at the same time; boil up your spaghetti, blanch your peas, and chop up a shallot and some prosciutto. 

Soften up the shallot/prosciutto ensemble in butter. Yes, it's a buttery affair, and there is cream to follow. I promise, any day now I am going to post a really, really healthy recipe. Until then, however, you'll have to park your diet at the virtual door.

Crack in some double cream (listen, if you're going to do it do it right, no half measures here) along with salt and pepper, and give it a nice two minute simmer to thicken it up. 

Recipes generally tell you to pour the sauce over the pasta. This one does too. But for fear of missing out on an opportunity to make it even more fattening, I swirled the spag right into the pan in order to swoosh up every last bit of that sauce.

And, of course, since it is a pasta dish, some leaves from my (ailing) basil plant and a few shavings of parmesan make it all look so pretty and presentable. Unlike the backside of anyone who eats this kind of thing on a regular basis. I recommend a body brush, litres of water and a big long run. And maybe salad every other day. But let nothing get between you and your enjoyment of this dish. 

I was able to justify eating this on the basis of a 16 mile run I did that morning. I am in training for the New York City marathon this November, and I am running it in aid of Croí, which is pretty ironic because I'll be needing their services if I keep eating this kind of thing. If you, too, feel that my contribution to the world of heart disease needs to be balanced out in some small way, then please feel free to sponsor me right here:

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