penne with prosciutto and peas

What started out as a lunch without hope turned delicious pretty quickly.

I had pulled out some frozen canned tomatoes to thaw, with the thought of throwing together a quick pasta dish. Then, I remembered I wanted to use some of the larger arugula leaves in the garden. On my way back inside, I snagged a handful of mint after I remembered the frozen peas we almost always have on hand in the freezer. Buckley, our 15-month-old girl, loves them, and they are handy for last-minute delights such as pea soup, fava-pea puree, and mashed-potatoes with olive oil and peas.

The canned tomatoes went back in the fridge for another day, and out came leftover cream, parmesan and two lonely slices of prosciutto from the weekend's festivities. All of a sudden, I had the makings of a pasta dish I actually wanted to partake in. The rich creamy pasta has bursts of green and rich pink strips of prosciutto.

The arugula, however, really stole the show. Its peppery bite, enhanced with bright lemon flavor, gave each forkful new life. I regretted not picking more; when I finished it, I settled for squeezing the lemon over the top of my remaining pasta.

penne with prosciutto and peas

3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 c frozen peas, blanched
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 slices of prosciutto
1/3 c parmesan
3/4 c cream
3/4 c whole milk
1 tsp chopped mint
8 oz whole wheat penne pasta
handful of arugula
1/2 lemon

Melt butter and olive oil together over med. high heat. Add shallots, then peas. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, add penne to boiling water to cook.
After a few minutes, add one slice of chopped prosciutto to the peas. After one minute, add the cream and milk and allow to simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Add the parmesan, stir in the chopped mint, then season to taste.
Toss penne with sauce mixture and serve on heated plates. Top with thin strips of uncooked prosciutto and arugula that has been tossed with salt, pepper, and juice from 1/2 lemon.