What’s for dinner? Answering that dreaded question daily is quite exhausting. Even the most imaginative person runs out of new dinner options. This is why I have committed to trying one new recipe a week. While I have not always had great successes, there have been a few gems. This is one of them. I found this recipe in the USA Weekend magazine in my local paper. It is by Nigella Lawson, author of Nigellissima. I have been watching Nigella since I was in high school on VH-1 on Saturday mornings. I knew when I saw the recipe I would try it. I am only sorry my camera phone did not do it justice. TRY THIS RECIPE!!! It is so yummy, and ALL 3 of my kiddos ate it.
Pasta Risotto with Peas and Pancetta
2Tbs. garlic-flavored oil (or add peeled garlic clove to regular oil and cook until golden, discard garlic, use oil)
6 ounces cubed pancetta (or diced, thick cut bacon)
1 1/4 cups frozen petite peas
8 ounces orzo pasta
2 1/2 cups boiling water
salt to taste
1 Tbs. soft butter
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan
pepper to taste
Warm the oil in a heavy pan. (this is a one pan dish)) I use an enameled cast iron dutch oven) Add the pancetta (I used bacon) Cook pancetta until it becomes crisp and bronzed, then add the peas and stir for a minute or two until the frozen look leaves them. Add the pasta and turn it about in the pancetta and peas. Next, pour in boiling water. Add salt cautiously as the pancetta is already salty. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Check on it and stir to keep from sticking and to see if you need more water. When it is ready, pasta should be soft and starchy and the water should be absorbed. Beat in the butter and Parmesan. Check the seasoning. Serve immediately.
I always try a recipe for the first time according to the directions. I never change anything without tasting the original. This is amazing and I changed very little. I did use bacon because it is what I had on hand. My lack of garlic infused oil required I infuse my own. It was easy. I also added an additional tablespoon of butter. The dish is very delightful with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. In order to tempt my children into eating more than one bite, I added a bit more. At least 1/2 cup….I do love cheese. It is great either way! There is something about this dish that gives you the warm fuzzies. The bacon gives it a smokey flavor, and the peas make it fresh.