Tag Archives: peas

Veal & peas

8 Aug

I was in an old-school mood last night.

Veal and peas (spezzatino di vitello con piselli) isn’t the kind of thing you see around very much. The last time I saw it on a menu was in Rhode Island, at a crazy place called Mike’s that operates out of a VFW hall. (Don’t laugh. Mike’s has been a seriously good source for old-school Italian food for years. I’d give a lot to have a place like that nearby.)

Anyhow, I’d made a batch of my meatballs over the weekend and had some veal stew meat leftover (I grind the veal to make the meatballs). Next thing you know I see some fresh peas at a farmstand nearby, and, well, there you go.

When the two pounds of fresh peas that I’d gotten (for $14, by the way) only netted out at a cup of peas I decided to add frozen. No matter. Whether you go with fresh or frozen just make sure to have around two cups of peas total.

This is a little over a pound of veal stew meat, trimmed and cut into small pieces. 

In a pan saute one chopped onion, a finely diced carrot and two cloves of garlic in olive oil. Do this at a low to medium flame so that things don’t brown too much, if at all.

Once the onions and carrots have softened add around 1/3 cup of dry white wine or vermouth (which is what I used here).

I also added a little fresh thyme at this point.

After the wine has evaporated add around 3/4 cup of chopped tomatoes. These are fresh from the garden but canned is fine too.

Then add in the veal.

Now add enough stock to cover things up (I used around 3/4 quart of homemade chicken stock). Add a little salt and freshly ground pepper and make sure the flame is on low so that the veal can simmer for a while.

The quality and age of the veal will affect how long it needs to cook, but figure on around 90 minutes or so, possible even two hours. I tasted the veal at the 70-minute mark and it was pretty much all there, and so I stirred in the peas and just a little more stock and let things simmer another 10 minutes before turning off the heat.

As I said, old school.

Just how I like it.

Lemon pasta dough

12 Jan

I don’t know what my friends Marla and Jeff imagined might become of these Meyer lemons. A drink perhaps, possibly a delicate Italian baked good. Grown in their backyard in Texas and shipped here for the holidays, the lemons were a very nice surprise. It has been some time since I’ve been to visit them in Austin and I’d even forgotten that they had the trees.

Some discussions commenced about how best to use the lemons, but the truth is that I knew right away what to lobby for.

Actually, I didn’t really lobby at all.

Very early one morning, long before the associate and the house guests stirred, I zested a couple of the lemons.

Then two cups of 00 flour went onto my work surface, along with 2 large eggs, one egg yolk, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, plus the zest.

Still no sound of anybody getting out of bed and my plan was nicely taking hold.

A little more flour and a few minutes of kneading and the dough ball was ready for the fridge.

The next day, at lunchtime coincidentally,  I took out the chitarra and got to work on
the meal’s main ingredient (once the dough had come to room temp, that is).

The batch of dough made about 3/4 pound of this stuff, enough for a light lunch for four.

Butter, cheese and peas. That’s it.

Being an early riser has its benefits.

Pasta and peas

4 Jan
Every time I eat this, and I eat it enough, I am ten years old again. It’s Friday night, I’m just getting home from Little League, it’s starting to get dark outside, and my mother is standing at the stove, a ladle in one hand, my favorite white pasta bowl in the other.

“How’d you do?” she says dusting a little parmesan on top, the way I like. 

Then, a kiss on the head, touch of the cheek. All is right this night here in Brooklyn.

Think I might hang around a while longer, finish what’s left in the pot. Make yourself some pasta and peas tonight. You won’t be sorry, I promise. 

Pasta and peas (pasta e piselli)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2-4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 anchovy filets (optional)
1 small hot pepper (optional)
2 slices prosciutto (optional)
¾ cups frozen peas
½ lb. pasta of your choice
Parmesan cheese for grating

In a large pot of well-salted water, start cooking the pasta.
Saute the garlic, anchovy and pepper in the oil for a couple minutes, then add the prosciutto and sauté another minute or two.
Add the frozen peas and simmer another two or three minutes.

When the pasta is done cooking (save about a cup of the salted water), toss it in with the peas, etc. Turn up the heat and gradually add some of the pasta water until the moisture level is to your liking. Incorporate fully before plating and topping with grated cheese.