Red's Dips and Flips: West Caldwell, NJ: Chicago Italian Beef [CLOSED]
Forcella: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Speck and peas and pasta: cream sauce


The fella from and I were emailing each other about food the other day, as we generally do, and the subject of speck came up. Speck is sort of like prosciutto, but it's smoked, which means it might even be better than prosciutto.  iamnoachef had just got done cooking a pizza with some speck, and my response was to tell him to put speck in his carbonara, since it's smoky, and since he thinks that bacon is an appropriate meat for carbonara. I do not, and this is a constant point of contention. 

He graciously ignored my ribbing, and then we moved on to the idea of pasta with speck (but not carbonara). My mind was now focused on speck/peas/pasta/cream. iamnotachef quickly suggested a bit of mint (inspired) and pecorino romano (which I always pair with pork/pork products).  Off to Fairway I went for the speck (and then to King's for the mint, since Fairway inexplicably didn't have any mint).

Cream sauce isn't in my repertoire, but some quick googling always fills in the gaps. I googled a recipe for prosciutto and peas, since I figured that's the usual combo, and landed on a recipe  from the New York Times, which I used as a baseline. In reality, just sort of winged it.  I'm not a big fan of measuring, so the stuff (sour cream, heavy cream, butter) went in willy-nilly.  This isn't rocket since.

For some reason I got the idea that fresh pasta would be better than dried for this dish. I think cream sauces in general are better with dried pasta, and tomato sauces with fresh pasta, but I figured I'd make pasta since it had been a while. I forgot how easy and quick it is: flour (I used Caputo 00, a very finely milled flour from Italy that is used in Neapolitan pizza), eggs, and salt.  Mixed in a bowl.  Rolled out.  Cut with a knife. Couldn't be easier.

I'll save you from reading any detailed steps on this.  My purpose here is often to get people thinking about something rather than telling them how to do it. There are plenty of resources to direct you with specifics, especially on something this simple. Hell there's probably a 6 second video on Vine outlining the process.

The pasta took about 10 minutes to make (and then an hour rest), and the sauce came together in about 5 minutes.  This is certainly a quick and easy meal, and worth your consideration.

The next project is to incorporate this into pizza.  More to come on that, no doubt (and here is the pizza version-click me).

The stuff:

Heavy cream
Sour cream (or crème fraîche)
Frozen peas (certainly use in-season fresh peas)
Speck (1/4 lb is plenty for 4)
Mint and chives for garnish
Pecorino Romano for garnish