real life test kitchen: pasta with peas, prosciutto, and crème fraîche


Today’s recipe comes right in time for Spring, from the pages of one of my favorite cookbooks, A Twist of the Wrist, by Nancy Silverton. This book has been a great source of lots of quick and easy meals made from easily-sourced pantry and freezer staples. (The Chicken Tonnato Salad? To. Die. For.) The recipe calls for orecchiette, whose curved shape I imagine would, as Silverton says, “capture the tiny peas” in a way orzo pasta just can’t. With orecchiette or without, I really love this dish’s simplicity: frozen peas, garlic, crème fraîche… Oh, and instead of prosciutto, I used Spanish jamon Serrano for my version — I think it’s got a nicer, more developed flavor. But whatever way you make it, it really is easy, and delicious. — Megan B.
Click for the recipe, after the jump!

Pasta with peas, prosciutto, and crème fraîche
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water
8 ounces orecchiette pasta (or orzo)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, grated or minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 cup frozen petite peas (about 4 ounces)
1 cup crème fraîche (or sour cream, but really, just use the crème fraîche, PLEASE!)
6 thin slices prosciutto (about 3 ounces), torn in half
12 small basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salty water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occassionally to prevent sticking. In the meantime, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the garlic. Cook for a couple minutes until fragrant but not browned, then reduce the heat to medium and add the peas, cooking for a few seconds, then add the crème fraîche and kosher salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until warmed through. Reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta and add it while still wet to the skillet. Toss well with the sauce and add the pasta water to create a loose sauce. Turn the heat to high and cook for 2 minutes as the sauce melds with the pasta. Spoon the pasta out of the skillet and pile it into high mounds on four plates, dividing it evenly. Spoon the sauce left in the skillet over the pasta. Rumple 3 pieces of prosciutto and lay 3 basil leaves over each serving.

From our partners
Sarah C.

This looks DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!! And relatively easy to make. I would love this, of course, because I’m obsessed with pasta. And peas. And virtually everything in this meal. Thanks, Megan!


Mmmm, any combo of pasta+peas+mushrooms+pork+cream=heaven to me.

Mmmmmm that sounds really good. And ditto ellobie … pasta + mushrooms + cream = I will probably love it.

I love orzo pasta, I love peas, I love Nancy Silverton and so I am sure I will love this recipe. I am going to the library to find that cookbook today!
Thanks for sharing.
Love from,

I saw this earlier today and decided to try cooking it tonight. My wife is pregnant, so I couldn’t use the prosciutto or creme fraiche, but I substituted fresh cooked bacon and greek yogurt instead, and I think it came out really well.

With the greek yogurt (I ended up using about 1.5 cups) and omitting the pasta water at the end, the sauce stayed stickier, and the peas really stuck to the pasta, making it super easy to eat. I used the orecchiette, and like the author and blogger note, the peas just stick inside these things very well.

This sounds PERFECT for me today, and I don’t have to go to the store. WIN!

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