Quadrucci e piselli Pasta and peas
In Spring, when the small tender peas first appear, they are so good people want to eat them as often as possible, in as many guises as possible, as long as their delicate flavour is not masked.
In Testaccio the older stall holders sit shelling the peas with still nimble fingers, while their children get on with the job of selling. If you are in a hurry you can buy small bags of ready shelled peas, but usually it is a greater pleasure to buy them in pod, so that you can steal the odd pea as you sit at home companionably shelling them.
300 g shelled peas
300 g 1 cm squares of egg pasta, fresh or dry
2 rashers streaky bacon, chopped finely (optional)
1.5 litres light stock
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
1/2 celery stick, finely chopped
1 T fresh mint, chopped
6 T freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
2 T olive oil
salt and black pepper
Heat the oil and gently cook the onion, celery, garlic and bacon, if used, until soft. Add the peas, parsley and seasoning and cook gently for ten minutes. Pour in the boiling stock and, after a few minutes the pasta. Serve with Parmesan or a little finely-chopped mint.
Peas from France via Liguria
1 k young peas, shelled
Half an onion sliced into fine slices
4 to 6 lettuce leaves, roughly chopped, rib removed if tough
50 g butter
Melt half the butter in a small pan and let the onion soften. Cover the pan so the onions do not brown.
Put in half the lettuce, lightly salt and cover with the remaining lettuce and butter. Add a little boiling water and cook covered. If the peas are really young it will only take a few minutes. Serve as a light starter with a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid.