Thursday, December 10, 2009

Food/Rose's Pasta con Piselli e Prosciutto

My forthcoming novel, Across the Table, is set in a restaurant in Boston’s North End run by the Dante family. They call the place “Paradiso,” after the third volume of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.

In Paradiso, Beatrice leads Dante through the spheres of heaven. Early on, believing that she has shown him more than he can comprehend, she tells him “sedere un poco a mensa.” She wants him to sit awhile at her table and digest all that he has seen.

Throughout Across the Table, the Dante family is sustained by Rose’s belief that there is no pain that cannot be eased by a dish of homemade pasta, such as the one below.

As Rose says when she prepares this dish, " I did what I always do when we have something important to discuss. I put care into what we were going to eat.”

1 lb. orecchiette pasta

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, chopped into small dice

1 cup baby peas

1 cup diced cooked ham

2 cups heavy cream

Grated Parmeggiano

Salt and pepper

Prepare orecchiette as directed.

Sauté the onion in butter over medium heat until soft.

Add peas and ham, stirring to mix with onions.

Add heavy cream, blending with ham and vegetables until gently bubbling. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain pasta. Place in serving bowl and add sauce, stirring to mix. Serve with grated Parmeggiano.

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