Friday, April 2, 2010

Conchiglie con Piselli, Panna, e Menta

Conchiglie con Piselli, Panna, e Menta
(Shells with Peas, Cream, and Mint)
serves 8 
The fresh mint and fresh Italian parsley are what makes this dish work, don't even attempt it with the dried versions they just don't provide the same flavour.  Other pastas will also work here but the shells are traditional.
1 pound  large shell pasta
1 ¼  cups whipping  cream
1 pound of  frozen petite peas
2 1/2  cups freshly grated Romano cheese
¼ cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
½ cup fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped

Additional Romano cheese for accompaniment
1.  Bring a large pasta pot of heavily salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente.  When the pasta reaches the al dente state, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Turn the heat off under the pot and return pasta to pot.
2.  In a large,  high-sided sauté pan over medium heat bring the cream to simmer (don’t not allow to boil). Add the still frozen peas and continue simmering until the peas are thawed and just warmed through, about 2 minutes or so.
3.  Add the Romano cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and forms a thickened sauce, about 1 minute. Stir in the mint and half the parsley.
4.  Pour the Romano cheese sauce over the pasta and toss it to evenly distribute the sauce over the shells.  If the pasta is too "tight" (dry), turn the heat on under the pot and  add the hot pasta cooking liquid, by tablespoonfuls, until the sauce reaches a consistency of your liking.  Adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper.
5. Remove the pot from the heat and either transfer to individual serving dishes sprinkling each serving with some of the remaining parsley OR transfer the pasta to a large pasta bow (to serve family style) and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
6.   Serve accompanied by additional Romano cheese.

Next Week's Posting: Lou's Manhattan Clam Chowder

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