Leslie Land, Garden Q&A Columnist
The New York Times
Most gardeners know Leslie as the Garden Q&A columnist of the New York Times and lead author of The New York Times 1000 Gardening Questions and Answers (Workman Publishing, available at your local bookstore or www.amazon.com). But Leslie entered the garden through the kitchen, as a professional chef in search of the finest raw materials. This recipe, from her second cookbook, The Modern Country Cook, is typical: easy, rich, delicious and pretty.
Pasta and Peas
1/4 pound prosciutto, 1/16" slices
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces orchiette or macaroni
1/2 cup green onions, 1/4" slices
Generous pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup diced red or yellow bell peppers, 1/3" pieces
4 cups peas (4 pounds in the shell)
2 cups lightly packed, shredded romaine lettuce (3 or
4 large leaves)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Put a big kettle of water on for the pasta.(When water boils, dribble in the pasta, stirring, and cook until al dente. Drain, return to the pot and keep warm).
While all this is going on, tear the prosciutto into irregular pieces about 2" square. Combine with cream in a large saucepan and cook over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes: it should bubble very gently; do not let it boil. Add green onions and cayenne and cook about 5 minutes more, then stir the remaining vegetables into the saucepan and cook until they are just tender, 6 or 7 more minutes.
Pour onto pasta, put pan over medium heat and toss until all is well mixed. Season to taste with additional cayenne and salt, then serve at once on warmed plates. Pass cheese separately. Serves four as a main course or eight as a first course.