Kitchen Garden Seeds

Pasta and Peas
Leslie Land, Garden Q&A Columnist The New York Times

Most gardeners knew 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 She 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. Sadly, Leslie Land passed away in 2013. We miss her insight, exuberance and passion.

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, stiring, and cook until al dente. Drain, return to 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.