Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tortellini con panna e piselli

As I believe I've mentioned, I've eaten many an Italian meal in Italy cooked by Italians.  Oh the glory!  The GLORY!  In fact, I was so lucky as to have 3 Italian roommates, one of whom routinely returned to school with her trunks laden with hand-crafted goods from her mamma and nonna.  I was always so incredibly grateful when she gave me tasty bits.  I never asked, but I think she saw my puppy dog eyes and overworking salivary glands.

There stands one day in memory during which I was most elated at my other roommate's gloom.  A few days previous, Maria had made tortellini con piselli e pancetta.  Pancetta is basically lardons, or thick chunks of bacon.  Mmmm.  Bacon.  Sorry, I channeled Brian and Homer there.  Anyway, the thoughts of cheese-filled pasta served in a cream sauce with bacon and peas just screamed my name.  It screamed it so loudly that the very next morning I ran to the store to grab the necessaries.  While I was stirring things about, Maria peered over my shoulder and sighed audibly.  "What's wrong?" I asked, fearing some transgression of Italian cookery law.  "Yours is better than mine was."  "Huh?  How can you tell?"  "It is, I can tell."  She shuffled off, and I would have fluffed up my feathers if I could have. 

Unfortunately, my most recent attempt has given me further clarity.  I looked at it and went "ah, this is not as good as the one I made in Italy.  I can tell," even as it lay in the pan.  I blame this on the fact that my most recent rendition had no bacon in it.  However, it was still mighty tasty and sumptuous.  So please try it, and let me know if you make any Italians jealous of your mad cooking skills in the process.  I'll put bacon in the ingredients to increase your chances of success.

pack of tortellini (not necessary that they be colorful, though I thought it added a certain something)
4 strips of thick-cut bacon
1 c peas
1/2 c cream
1 shallot or a bit of chopped onion and garlic

1)  Get that pasta boiling.
2)  While pasta boils, cook up that bacon! Use the grease to saute your shallot. Pour in cream and heat through.  Add peas.  When the sauce is comfily blended and the tortellini is boiled, drain the pasta and toss it in the pan with its new buddies.   Give them a bit to settle in together, plate up and serve.

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